‘Art Takes Flight’ opens as Westfield’s first public art exhibit

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WESTFIELD, NJ — 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,” Mayor Shelley Brindle said. “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. 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 reemerge 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 sponsors, local businesses also played a significant role in helping to fund the cost of the exhibition. 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 donated its services to apply the weatherproofing upon seeing the butterflies prior to installation.

Photos Courtesy of Westfield