Dianne Dengel, Art that Makes You Smile

Dianne Dengel’s Mother noticed Dianne’s artistic talent when she was only three years old. 

Her mother worked at Edwards Department Store and, although the family had little money, she encouraged her daughter’s love of drawing people by bringing home the cardboard from shirt boxes that would have been discarded.

Market Time, by Dianne Dengel

Market Time, by Dianne Dengel

“I had two college scholarships, but in those days, they expected all artists to be teachers.  I wanted to be an artist.  So I opened a tiny shop on South Avenue where I drew portraits for $1.50.  I have no idea how I made ends meet,” she laughs.

Dianne’s break came in 1984 when  TV personality Mr. Rogers came to Rochester to do a show about Dianne and her work.  Each year, he rebroadcast the show, which brought Dianne recognition and orders for her one-of-a-kind paintings, portraits and dolls.  Her works are favored pieces in many private collections, including that of Oprah Winfrey.

Art Class Dolls, by Dianne Dengel

Art Class Dolls, by Dianne Dengel

“I’ve been an artist for 52 years, and hope to keep creating for many more years,” shared Dianne.

Dianne is known for her whimsical, loveable characters, so full of life and joy.  You can watch Dianne work at her booth at the Downtown Canandaigua Art & Music Festival where you’ll also also be able view and purchase her paintings and dolls.

Photos courtesy of Dianne Dengel.


History of the Canandiagua Art and Music Festival

Each summer, Canandaigua residents look forward to the Canandaigua Art & Music Festival, started over 20 years ago by the Canandaigua Business Improvement District (BID) .

Nicole handles BID's events and marketing

Nicole handles BID's events and marketing

To establish the event as one of Canandaigua’s premier festivals,  BID brought it in-house and hired seasoned event organizer and marketer Nicole Mahoney to run it.  Nicole also handles marketing, events, merchant liaison and promotion of the Business Improvement District.

Nicole began her career out of high school when she went to work for her father’s business, Roc Communications Car Stereo on West Ridge Road  in Rochester. 

“I discovered I really enjoyed event planning.  I organized in-car stereo competitions called ‘Sound Offs,’  where car stereos are tested for sound, installation and decibel level.”

From there, Nicole worked with Beau Productions, organizing Rochester’s Annual Air Show, the Charlotte Carousel and Harbor Festival,   Rochester’s Lilac Festival and other events.   She  rose to Executive Director at Beau Productions.

About the time her first daughter was born – she has four, ranging in age from 7 months to 10 years old – she decided to do freelance event management.

She had such success working with Canandaigua’s Business Improvement District on a freelance basis, they hired her and, in 2006, she took over organizing the Annual Canandaigua Art & Music Festival. 

New developments have made the festival spectacularly popular

New developments have made the festival spectacularly popular

Today, the Art & Music Festival is one of Canandaigua’s most popular events.

“We’ve really enhanced the festival and it now focuses only on Downtown Canandaigua.  We get between 100 and 150 exhibitors,  Our art show is now juried which has really raised the quality.  Jury members review the applications looking for variety in the work as well as the price points.

“One thing we’ve done to differentiate ourselves from other shows is to bring in music  hired by a talent agency.  We get some terrific performing artists!

“And It’s very family-friendly.   We have the Kids Korridor with a performance stage and lots of activities.  Each year it changes, and we’ve offered everything from a petting zoo and face painting to an interactive music program offered by Hochstein.”

The Canandaigua Art & Music Festival is free to attendees so it draws a great crowd!