Explore the Arts in Hampden County at Westfield’s Arts on Elm
Western Massachusetts’ omnipotent local arts scene is growing! Last summer in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+ , Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays, Turners Falls RiverCulture, North Adams DownStreet Art, and Holyoke’s Gateway City Arts, all of which support a community’s cultural identify. The region’s newest art walk event – Arts on Elm – will showcase local artists, musicians, makers, and other creators in the heart of downtown Westfield. Presenting a variety of ways to engage with and learn about the arts, Arts on Elm offers families the opportunity to engage in meaningful community-based learning while supporting placemaking.
Held on Saturday, June 4th, 2016 from 10am-4pm, Arts on Elm features the work of more than 25 local and regional artists, both inside and out. Numerous local businesses will present artwork, while additional locally created art and crafts will be showcased in tented sidewalk spaces. Families can explore the exhibits and displays in order to learn more about the diverse methods and media used by local artists, including quilting, metal sculpture, candle making, and acrylic painting. Local musicians will be featured prominently on a stage set up near Westfield’s downtown clock tower, and further appearances will be made less formally as musicians play from the city’s sidewalks throughout the event. Children can even add their own artwork to the event by participating in a children’s coloring contest on the lawn of the Westfield Museum. Welcoming ways for intergeneratinal intersections that support the development of a sense of place while learning about (and creating) local culture.
In addition to exploring the arts, families can use Arts on Elm as an opportunity to learn about the local economy, and perhaps even local history. Some of the artists and makers whose work will be featured during the event do not make traditional artwork, but instead use their creativity to fuel businesses selling handmade goods. Exploring the existence of cottage industries within the local community can open children’s eyes to the active role that creators play in community resiliency. Families might even use explorations of the local economy to spark studies of Westfield’s history, comparing today’s small-scale industries to the industries of Westfield past. A visit to the Westfield Museum – which features not art, but exhibits about the Industrial Revolution – can illuminate the connections between the city’s industrial history and its vibrant present.
Find out more about this event and upcoming Westfield based placemaking opportunities at www.westfieldcreativearts.com.