2019 Creative Spark Highlights

2019 Reflection:

Creative Spark Highlights

December 2019

As we prepare to welcome a new decade filled with even more creative sparks, the ArtWeek team took time to reflect on the year’s highlights, including the 2019 festival, which marked its second as a statewide creative festival with nearly 600 events – many free – in 130+ communities.  It was a year filled with generous partners and collaborators, exciting geographic expansion, and tremendous inspiration from our creative event ‘hosts’ across the state.  As Mateo, our Northeastern Fellow for the 2019 festival, exclaimed “Getting a chance to experience ArtWeek for the first time was amazing. I saw such a great amount of creativity and commitment, especially from independent artists.”  For first-timers or returning ArtWeek fans, it was a year that truly celebrated the diversity of arts, culture, and creative communities, providing a perfect foundation for the new decade ahead!

Portraits in Landscape with Terri Unger at Appleton Farms (South Hamilton)
Portraits in Landscape with Terri Unger at Appleton Farms (South Hamilton)
The Lantern Language of Liz Tran (Boston)
The Lantern Language of Liz Tran (Boston)

From Kelly Artamonov, Community Engagement Manager:

Art and culture has always been important to me, and I love that ArtWeek events helped me introduce my (now 2-year old) daughter to different types of creativity in ways that are accessible and exciting to her! While visiting Franklin Park Zoo, she learned how gorillas can paint. At the Eustis Estate in Milton, we listened for birds and hunted for “hidden birds” in the design and architecture of that beautiful historic home. We met local literary characters in Plymouth. She also took part in her first community mural, and I’m sure it won’t be her last.                 

Another one of my favorite aspects of ArtWeek is discovering art in unexpected places, especially in a nearby town. I spent a day in Natick last year, and the town residents and business owners showcased their creativity in unexpected ways. To name just a few: my portrait was drawn while enjoying a delicious meal at Agostino’s, local artists showed me how to use watercolors at Dates & Olives take-way, I listened to traditional stories and songs of the Numpuc people at the Natick History Museum, and I watched a local muralist work on one of her new pieces (and she even provided a map of all the other locations in town where I could find her work). ArtWeek 2019 helped me discover all of these local gems!

Malden Dance Mile

From Jane Long, ArtWeek Manager:

One of the most inspiring and successful parts of ArtWeek for me has been the level of access it gives you to both artists and spaces.  ArtWeek hosts events that allow people into spaces not normally available or for reduced cost or free. In 2019 we saw so many of these with wonderful feedback from the community about all of them.  This included a free day at the Tiffany Windows center viewing at the Arlington church, the Omni Parker house tour (which sells out every year) a special tour to Old Manse house in Concord and stargazing at the Norman Smith Environmental Education Center.  

This is in addition to the incredible opportunities to talk directly to artists about their work or to have real hands on opportunities with art. With hundreds of workshops demos and rehearsals you get to learn and see so much that’s not normally available to you, and with a diversity of events (like Dragon Puppet Making, Calligraphy, Flower Arranging or Step Dance) ArtWeek takes people out of their traditional roles as audience members and allows them the opportunities to engage at all different levels with art and artists.  

Pathway's Blurring Lines (New Bedford)
Instameet at the House of Seven Gables (Salem)

From Sue Dahling Sullivan, ArtWeek Lead Champion:

I keep thinking that every year can’t top the last, but it always does.  Traveling across the state, I left each region happily exhausted and genuinely inspired.  In the Berkshires, Great Barrington celebrated becoming a new cultural district and Lenox launched an art gallery scavenger hunt. In Amherst, the Emily Dickenson Museum featured original works through sidewalk ‘raining poetry’ and Belchertown’s Art Day and town green was brightened by bottlecap garden flowers designed by local school children.  Cape Ann hosted an amazing week of events through an innovative regional collaboration, and Cape Cod became a must-‘sea’ destination with 100+ creatively inspired activities.  The Dance Mile in Malden, the pop-up performances at Lynn’s commuter rail stop, the Jazz Jam in Marion ….my list goes on and on and on.

Another 2019 highlight for me was the huge growth in partners and collaborators who helped ArtWeek provide even more free and affordable creative experiences to All.  Sharing the nonprofit Boch Center’s commitment to making arts, culture, and accessible to children and families everywhere was our founding presenting sponsor Highland Street Foundation; they are a shining light among foundations in their steadfast dedication to community and families. Other partners like the Commonwealth, Mass Office of Travel and Tourism, Mass Cultural Council, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Music Drives Us Foundation also deserve applause for believing in the potential of this new kind of creative festival.  But equally important were our 130 statewide, regional, and community level partners who helped make ArtWeek a reality, and the 25+ media sponsors who generously provided in-kind advertising and marketing support.  And behind-the-scenes, the Boch Center board and staff worked tirelessly with the ArtWeek team on everything from marketing and design projects to fundraising support.  Working alongside the diversity, passion, and creativity of this extensive and committed ArtWeek community over the past year has truly been a highlight.

Thank you again to all who helped put arts, culture, and creativity center stage in the Creative Commonwealth.  May the creative sparks continue to fly in 2020! 

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