'While some wait and others debate, Westfield Arts on the Green will create'
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD -- "While some wait and others debate, Westfield Arts on the Green will create."
Gerry Tracy, president of Westfield Arts on the Green Inc., shared the aforementioned motto of the newly established non-profit with Reminder Publications at their announcement ceremony last week.
"I'm tickled pink. Now there's wind in our sails," Tracy said of obtaining the non-profit designation.
He added that the new status allows the organization to obtain additional funds for its summer events -- Talented Tots and Teens on the Green, Saturday Night Live Summer Concert Series and Arts on the Green -- they weren't privy to throughout the past two years. Tracy noted that his business, the Tea Pot Gallery, is still paying for the free public events of the last two years.
The events bring all forms of visual and performance art to the city green each weekend from June to September.
"[Our organization] is looking at getting people to come downtown [and to] provide young people with the opportunity to participate in the arts," Everett Talmadge, clerk for the Westfield Arts on the Green Board of Directors, said.
Westfield State College (WSC) President Dr. Evan Dobelle said he will continue to work with Westfield Arts on the Green and other city non-profits to help revitalize downtown.
"[We're trying to] form a creative economy," Dobelle explained of their efforts.
He added that WSC is still in negotiations to obtain housing for 1,000 students downtown.
"The way to change your city is through your youth," Tracy said. "We can bring [downtown] Westfield back on a grassroots level [by] bringing in the arts and the Mayor and President Dobelle bring in the people."
He explained that increased foot traffic, especially youth with disposable income, will help to revitalize downtown. Tracy added that his organization's promotion of the arts will also help to make Westfield a "destination" for creativity.
He said Westfield Arts on the Green will work toward establishing an "Arts Walk" similar to the one in Easthampton, which will incorporate art and performances on the green as well as exhibits and concerts at local restaurants.
Sarah Gallagher, a young artist and member of the Westfield Arts on the Green Board of Directors, said grassroots organizations such as this are imperative for lesser-known artists seeking public input and exposure for little cost.
To learn more about Westfield Arts on the Green Inc., e-mail Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit http://teapot-gallery.com