Westville's Watershed Moment

October 16, 2016, by David Sepulveda- "Last weekend, the first in a series of four weekends of City Wide Open Studios kicked off in Westville, marking a watershed moment in the life of this emerging arts district. Consideration of Westville’s entree as a full-fledged, City Wide Open Studios (CWOS) weekend destination had its pros and cons according to Helen Kauder, executive director of Artspace, which sponsors the nearly month-long arts festival in New Haven. Planners worried that inclusion of Westville into the already lengthy roster of three CWOS weekends in October would mean adding a fourth. “Is that too damn long?” they weighed. On the plus side, adding the fourth weekend would mean that visitors to Westville would be able to take their time visiting studios and not have to race through, as they might have done previously during the Private Studios Weekend. Besides, things in Westville had changed. In recent years, Westville as an arts presence during CWOS had begun to lag. After last year’s successful Steamroller Printing event, which drew widespread participation and much interest, there was an impetus to continue building on the excitement, especially with the arrival of the Lotta Studio/The Range, and West River Arts (WRA), a suite of 13 studios that has been hosting its own Second Saturdays open studio events. Together with the well-established studios of the ArloW artists’ studios, local galleries and independent studios, the growing critical mass just needed “a boost.” After many collaborative discussions with Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (WVRA) and members of the local arts community, “we decided to take a gamble” said Kauder. The gamble, according to anecdotal reports, resulted in exponential visitor participation this year, with many new visitors and other city artists who could now participate because of the weekend expansion..." 

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