Wearing paint-speckled sunglasses she has donned during the 200 hours spent painting downtown Riverhead, artist Caitlyn Shea, 28, of Melville put the finishing touches on a large-scale mural of flowers and hummingbirds Tuesday afternoon.
She was getting the painting, titled “The Garden Party,” ready for its Aug. 8 debut at JumpstART, an event spearheaded by East End Arts. The evening of free public art which will include murals, poetry, performances, live music, dancing and art installations, will take place along Riverhead’s Main Street on Friday, Aug. 8 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Part of a six month professional development series, the program was designed to introduce 16 artists, including Shea, to the professional aspects of creating and marketing art. But while helping artists understand the business side of the profession is an important aspect of JumpstART, East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder said she wants to see the project in turn help downtown businesses.
To create her mural, Shea said she painted her images with acrylic and spray paint on bond paper and then adhered them to the wall using a wheat paste. She added varnish on top of that to make it impervious to the elements. She originally had a Kickstarter campaign but then turned to her family to help with expenses.
“For me, it has been so much about learning and dedication,” said Shea who has studied at Adelphi university, Pratt Institute and Skidmore College. “Graduating from school, I was looking for opportunities. I made my opportunity happen with East End Arts.”