WESTFIELD – ArtWorks Westfield is expanding and seeking volunteers to bring arts and culture to the city year-round.
ArtWorks Westfield founder Bill Westerlind hosted a community meeting June 13 to brainstorm new ideas, recruit new members and gain momentum for the arts.
One way to do this, said Westerlind as well as several other participants, is for the various art and entertainment organizations in Westfield to combine their efforts.
“Westfield is on the cusp of being a destination of art and culture, but it’s going to take all the groups in the city to get out of their silos,” Westerlind said.
Much of the session centered around ArtWalk, a monthly event downtown that brings artists, businesses and the community together. Typically, local artists display their works at Two Rivers Burrito, Fast Feet, Rosewood and Blended Vintage Marketplace and, weather permitting, live performances and demonstrations take place on the sidewalks.
Westerlind spoke about expanding ArtWalk onto School Street to draw more artists, people and businesses into the mix. He spoke about a three-pronged approach to the event, which includes creativity, community and commerce. The idea, he said, is that the event gives artists an opportunity to exhibit their work, the businesses another reason for people to come in and the community an opportunity to view and purchase local art as well as become patrons of downtown shops.
“We just need more people involved to execute our plans and to add to the diversity of our events,” he said.
Westerlind said the vision for ArtWalk included a street fair style event, with roaming buskers and sidewalks spilling with people. This, he said, could help bring a renewed spirit downtown.
“Art and culture are the backbone of any kind of urban development,” he said.
In addition to ArtWalk, the group discussed the annual Articulture event and several new ideas that would draw people to the city, including mural projects, a comic book event and a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras celebration.
Westerlind said anyone interested in joining ArtWorks Westfield, as an artist, volunteer or business partner, should visit artworkswestfield.com.