ART TAKES FLIGHT
As part of Westfield 300, presented by Valley Bank, The Westfield Public Arts Commission has unveiled its inaugural exhibit. Art Takes Flight showcases the talent and vision of local artists on fiberglass butterflies throughout the downtown area. These 30 butterflies -- one for each decade of Westfield's 300 years – are set on pedestals or affixed to trees or poles in a variety of locations, with themes ranging from nature, to pop art, to Westfield pride.
“This exhibit is a wonderful realization of a vision brought to life by our Public Arts Commission and many local talented artists,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle. “What an impactful way to showcase the benefits of public art for the community, especially as we continue to celebrate Westfield 300 this year.”
The location of each butterfly, along with the corresponding artist and sponsor information, can be found at www.westfieldnj.gov/arttakesflight.
Public Art Stroll: Saturday, August 8
On Saturday, August 8, residents and visitors are invited to attend a Public Art Stroll from 11:30AM – 1:30PM, during which time many of the participating artists will be stationed at their butterflies to discuss their work and answer any questions. Face coverings and proper social distancing practices are required to participate in the artists’ discussions. The rain date is Sunday, August 9 for this interactive experience, although the butterflies remain available for viewing at any time. At the conclusion of the exhibit in the fall, some butterflies will be auctioned off to fund future public art installations, and some will be permanently installed in Westfield’s parks.
“The Public Arts Commission is thrilled to debut this exhibit, for which we received over 75 impressive submissions,” said Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, liaison to the Westfield Public Arts Commission. “Since the onset of the pandemic, this project has taken on additional significance in a time when the community continues to re-emerge from their homes back into public life. Walking throughout Town to view and enjoy these installations will provide residents and visitors alike with safe and broad access to support the work of local artists, whose profession has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.”
In addition to the generous sponsors to fund the cost of the individual butterflies, local businesses also played a significant role in bringing this project to fruition. AR Workshop of Westfield created the signage for each display, and Brinton Auto Body applied the weather protective finish. In addition, Body Work by Fischer generously donated their services to apply the weatherproofing upon seeing the butterflies prior to installation.
The Westfield Public Arts Commission was established by ordinance in September 2019 at the direction of Mayor Brindle, and is comprised of resident volunteers, as well as Town Council liaison Dawn Mackey and Downtown Westfield Corporation liaison and Executive Director Bob Zuckerman. Its purpose is to provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to utilizing art in the Town’s public space. In late 2019, local artist and gallery owner Ricardo Roig was commissioned to design and paint the first phase of a mural under the South Avenue overpass as part of the Town's overall revitalization efforts of that business corridor, with the second phase now underway and nearing completion – with a formal unveiling to be scheduled in the coming weeks. The mural was fully funded by donations from residents, The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, James Ward, The Westfield Foundation and an anonymous donor -- in addition to grants through the Main Street NJ and Union County HEART programs. For more information, visit www.westfieldnj.gov/publicartscommission.
Westfield 300 is a year-long celebration, comprised of various programs and events, to commemorate the Town’s 300th anniversary in 2020. Westfield 300 is presented by Valley Bank, and is sponsored by: Columbia Bank; Elizabethtown Gas; Embassy Suites and Grain & Cane Bar & Table, Berkeley Heights; PSE&G; Stop & Shop Westfield; and Suplee, Clooney & Company. Westfield 300 is also sponsored, in part, by PNC Bank and Westfield Soccer Association. For more information, visit www.westfieldnj.gov/300.
Press Release from The Town of Westfield , August 3, 2020