'Make Riverhead,' a mural of flying fish near Grangebel Park, was created by Laurel graphic designer Anthony Catania. Photo: Denise Civiletti

A group of specially selected up-and-coming local artists will transform downtown Riverhead into a canvas for their public art exhibits tomorrow evening.

Over the past four months, more than a dozen local artists have created their own public art installations for downtown Riverhead through the East End Arts JumpstART program. Their projects will be unveiled to the public during an event tomorrow that will include live musical performances, interactive dance exhibits and a number of visual art displays.

Many of the art installations will remain permanently downtown – including a wildlife identification sign on the Peconic riverfront boardwalk and several new murals near the community garden and boardwalk.

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“3-step Mural” by Katherine Criss installed on a wall of the comfort station on the riverfront.

There will also be a variety of performance and interactive installations: a floating glass sculpture in Grangebel Park Pond, a four-piece blues band, a children’s trip down the Peconic River with a music therapist on the Atlantis Explorer.

(Map of JumpstART 2016 public art installations)

East End Arts created its JumpstART program in 2014 not only to give artists a chance to create their own public art installations in downtown Riverhead, but also to provide them with support and education on growing their own business and brand.

The program includes a series of workshops on topics like marketing, social media, fundraising and legal matters. Twelve of the 14 artists held online fundraising campaigns to collect the funds necessary to carry out their projects this year, each artist raising hundreds and even thousands of dollars to fund each project.

Now in its third year, JumpstART has not just been a valuable resource to local artists: It has also resulted in some lasting and recognizable art installations in downtown Riverhead.

One JumpstART project – a huge, colorful hummingbird mural on the side of one downtown building – became a topic of controversy after a new owner of the building announced plans to destroy the mural. A Facebook group with several hundred members led the owner to decide to keep the mural, to the delight of both the artist and the downtown community.

This year, JumpstART’s annual event will fall on the same night as Alive on 25, a new summer festival series in downtown Riverhead that features outdoor dining and live music performances at pop-up stages across Main Street.

To see a full list of art installations tomorrow, check out the artist bios on the JumpstART website.

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Katie Morosky
Katie, winner of the 2016 James Murphy Cub Reporter of the Year award from the L.I. Press Club, is a co-publisher of RiverheadLOCAL. A Riverhead native, she is a 2014 graduate of Stony Brook University. Email Katie