WESTFIELD-As public safety concerns continue to mount with the coronavirus pandemic, local cultural organizations are also wrestling with schedules of planned events in the coming months.
“As concerns grow regarding COVID-19 and the prevention of the spread of the virus becomes a community effort, the ArtWorks Westfield board of directors has instituted some significant changes to our upcoming schedule of community art and cultural activities,” said Bill Westerlind, president, ArtWorks Westfield.
Westerlind noted that while the organization’s “mission” is to engage the community through art and cultural experiences, the community’s safety is “equally important.”
Board members voted this week “out of concern for lessening the spread of the virus,” to make several programming changes for the next several months, including its signature Articulture Westfield event, originally planned for May 1-2.
“Articulture Westfield has been canceled for this year,” said Westerlind. “As the recently declared health emergency situation unfolds, we may add separate and modified art, music and literary shows later in the year at different locations in the city if it has been declared safe to do so.”
Additional programming that has been postponed includes the Westfield Youth Art Show and the Westfield Community Poetry Experience.
“We will explore opportunities to organize a youth art show in the second half of 2020 based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local official guidelines,” said Westerlind, adding, “The last two stops on the Westfield Community Poetry Experience, originally scheduled for March 21 and April 18, will be rescheduled when declared safe to do so.”
While the public Mural Committee meetings have been “postponed indefinitely,” the organization will continue to seek public input and ideas via its online social media links.
The Downtown Live! Friday Night Concert Series is still scheduled to begin June 19 although ArtWorks board members will monitor the current emergency situation and make further decisions regarding this event based on CDC, state and local officials.
The same situation holds true for the Open Air Open Mic Series planned for Wednesday evenings on the Park Square Green from June through August, according to Westerlind.
“The Massachusetts Cultural Council has recognized the challenges all state cultural organizations face with the cancellation or postponement of grant-funded events under these unprecedented circumstances and has given local cultural councils more flexibility in modifying grant awards,” said Westerlind. “We are optimistic that some of our disrupted, grant-supported programming can be modified and held during the second half of 2020.”
Westerlind emphasized that board members “wrestled mightily” with the decision to cancel or postpone these events, however, keeping the community safe is of “paramount importance.”
“This is an unprecedented, tumultuous situation which remains uncertain and extraordinarily fluid,” said Westerlind. “We will closely monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the CDC, state and local officials in our efforts to keep our community safe and contribute to the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Westerlind thanked the local and regional artists and creators, sponsors and donors, as well as community members for their understanding and continued support.
“More information as it becomes available will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram social media platforms and our website as this health emergency unfolds,” said Westerlind.
For more information, visit www.artworkswestfield.com.