At first glance, Chenango County may seem like the ideal agritourist destination, but the depth of the Chenango experience doesn’t end at the barn door.
Despite having devoted over 30 percent of its land to agriculture and 60 to forestry, Chenango is home to a flourishing culture rooted deep in its appreciation for the arts. Creative expression is one crop available all year round, offered fresh daily for visitors and residents alike.
Among the farms, spread across villages and tucked between the rolling hills of Chenango are traditional farming towns filled with historic success and prosperity. But, the county-wide culture of fine arts, music and poetry are just as much a part of the community fabric as quaint main streets and scenic pastures. Take the Chenango Colorscape Arts Festival, for example.
Every year, artists and art buffs from all over the East Coast gather on the streets of downtown Norwich to celebrate the beautiful creations produced on the local scene. Spectators are invited to peruse exhibitions of traditional fine art.
Colorscape even celebrates literary art, hosting a competitive poetry slam. Creative culinary demonstrations and live music from acoustic musicians are enjoyed by the masses at this unique arts festival as well.
“Ask most anyone involved in bringing the festival together every year, and undoubtedly you’ll hear that community volunteerism along with blue-collared grit and hard work ethic are the main ingredients of Colorscape’s success,” said Matthew White, marketing director of the Chenango Arts Council.
To locals, it’s no secret that Chenango has got it going on in the arts department, and the Chenango Arts Council works “behind the canvas” to support dozens of local art initiatives, programs and art educators across the county every year.
Colorscape has attracted more than 10,000 attendees annually for over 20 years, since its debut and has created national recognition for Chenango, putting the county on the radars of art fanatics all over the United States. But, it’s not the only creative venue in the county.
The Chenango Blues Festival is yet another artistic tradition that has gone on for decades. The fest continues to draw listeners and world-class blues talent to the rural community of Chenango for a musical celebration of the arts each year.
So, while agritourism surely thrives, the soil is certainly rich with inspiration for fine arts, music and literary works that draw travelers to the county from the entire region.
Colorscape and the Blues Festival are two of the largest art initiatives in Chenango, but every day locals can discover the beauty of art in their everyday lives.