FIle photo: Denise Civiletti

Downtown’s Grangebel Park will be illuminated with art beginning in August.

“Reflections,” a monthly art and light festival will feature a number of original works of art, illuminated for nighttime enjoyment, in and along the Peconic River in Grangebel Park.

The festival will debut on Thursday, Aug. 9 — the last Alive on 25 event of the season— and continue through that weekend. It will be held one weekend in September and one weekend in October, said organizer Bryan DeLuca of Atlantis Holdings and East End Getaway.

Some of the art will stay up in-between the festival dates, some will be removed and stored in a new container to be placed along the western edge of the park.

Artist Clayton Orehek of Center Moriches is creating several of the main installations, which will have an aquatic theme, featuring illuminated fish, ducks, swimmers, even a mermaid. Other artists and — next year — high school students will create additional installations.

Photo: Denise Civiletti

The idea is to draw people into the park, to walk along the pathways and enjoy the art and the scenery.

The three-acre riverfront park, developed as a private park in the 1880s by Riverhead attorney Timothy Griffing, has undergone extensive restoration and redevelopment over the past two decades, but it remains an underutilized gem. Town officials today expressed excitement about the prospect of an art and light festival bringing visitors into the park.

“This is new to the East End,” said Bob Kern, president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, which is organizing the event along with the Riverhead BID Management Association, East End Arts and East End Getaway. He predicted there will be a lot of interest in the event. “Look up Lumiere in London,” Kern said, referring to a popular light-art festival there. 

“I am so excited about this,” Councilwoman Catherine Kent said. “This is such a cool thing for Riverhead.”

“We’ve been looking to brighten up and clean up the area where you access the park from West Main Street, too,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said.

This 9-foot-tall fish —it will have a separate tail coming out of the ground — will be covered in 5,000 CDs. Courtesy photo.

Art installations in the park will be synergistic with the Peconic Crossing apartments currently being built adjacent to the north side of the park, officials said. Artists will be given preference in renting the 45 apartments in the building, which will also feature ground floor gallery space that will be managed by East End Arts.

“I love that we’re bringing arts to our downtown,” Kent said.

“I’m excited — this is great,” Councilman James Wooten said.

DeLuca said “Reflections” is in need of sponsors, volunteers — and CDs.

One of the installations, created by DeLuca and L.I. Aquarium artist Eli Fishman,  is a 9-foot-tall metal-frame fish made of CDs.

“We need 5,000 CDs,” DeLuca said. “Please, everyone, donate your old CDs.” There will soon be CD collection boxes placed in downtown businesses and in town hall.

A web page for the new festival is not yet up. Look for links to it on the BIDMA, Riverhead Chamber and East End Getaway websites.


Editor’s note: This article has been amended to correct the misidentification of the creators of the metal and CD fish sculpture.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.