With winter finally over, and tiny flowers sprouting as if to insist that spring really has arrived, Bostonians are out and about, ready to explore the city and all it has to offer. So, it could not be a better time for Citi Center’s ArtWeek Boston, a festival that stretches throughout Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods in order to offer events that expose the public to the art world and the creative process. Beginning April 29th and running until May 8th, the spring season of ArtWeek Boston will offer over 180 events that connect the public with the larger art world.
Launched in the fall of 2013, the first ArtWeek festival offered 26 individual events that spread throughout Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. In the three years—and six ArtWeeks— since the original ArtWeek in 2013, the festival has grown exponentially. In 2015, both the spring and summer sessions both featured over 100 events, and in this first spring session of 2016, that number is nearing 200. The events have also spread even further across the Massachusetts area, with some taking place in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and even Worcester.
“ArtWeek events are unique in that we do live in an area where we have so many wonderful offerings in arts and culture,” notes Holland. Because of Boston’s vibrant arts culture, there are many exhibitions and performances constantly taking place, but ArtWeek encourages these organizations to put a new spin on their events by offering the public insight into the creative process. This opportunity to meet artists, and understand their work is priceless.
This year, some of those opportunities include everything from swing dancing at South Station, graffiti car-painting with local car dealers, and the Cambridge Comic Arts Fair, which is a new offering for those interested in the comic arts. Some events even encourage the public to participate in the creative process, like “Hero’s Journey,” which is a workshop lead by Spanish Artist Revena Santana where people are invited to create a community mural together.
But ArtWeek’s events do not stop at visual arts—they encompass the performing, literary, and culinary arts as well. Boston College professor Paul Lewis will lead his popular “Poe’s Boston” walking tour, which explores Edgar Allan Poe’s relationship with the city.
This spring, ArtWeek is also launching three new initiatives that allow the festival to make even more of an impact on the surrounding city. With The Art of Food initiative, local restaurants will offer a special menu item inspired by a piece of art. ArtWeek on the Road and Light Up the Night will be an even more vivid reminder of the festival’s presence, as those initiatives feature the work of local artists on billboards and illuminate a number of Boston buildings, respectively.
65 percent of the events taking place this spring will be free, and 95 percent fall between free and 25 dollars. The low price point, combined with the fact that many of the events can be reached by the T, or even bicycle, are part of what have made the festival so popular in the past, and hopefully will again this spring. But this popularity also indicates something more important about the greater Boston community.
“What we’re seeing with the popularity of the festival is that there is a real thirst from the public to engage with the arts, maybe more so than ever,” Holland said. “And we’re very excited to—we couldn’t do it without the Highland Street Foundation, and it’s wonderful that they support us in making these programs available to the public.”
ArtWeek strips the art world of its mystique and the sometimes intimidating buildings that it is often housed in, and makes it accessible to curious,everyday people. Holland notes that ArtWeek aims to eventually maintain a year-long presence that allows that larger community to grow and thrive.
“It takes a number of months to get [the festival] together, but we definitely want a presence year around, and look to do some special events with ArtWeek hosts, and keep that community going,” she said. “They get inspiration from each other, as much as they get it anywhere else, so it’s really been wonderful to see some of the collaborations that have come out of it.”
Featured Image by ArtWeek