The Return of Westville Artwalk
An annual unifying event for the Greater New Haven Area helps mark the reopening of public places.
As more individuals receive vaccinations, the world nears normalcy with more activities reopening, often with slight modifications. One sign of the return to regular life is street festivals. This coming week, starting May 4 and ending May 8, Westville Artwalk will make its grand return to (somewhat) in-person performances. Last year, during the beginning of COVID-19, in-person Artwalk events were completely cancelled. Although there were still a few online, live stream performances, it in no way created the same lively atmosphere that a typical Artwalk would. So this hybrid return to Greater New Haven Area fame is sure to be a blast!
Westville Artwalk map logo (left) and people dancing at a past Artwalk (right)
As always, there are numerous musical performances, ranging from world famous singers to local bands. In order to maintain social distancing, the gigantic stage where people usually crowd around to listen to music, will be reserved for the more prominent artists. A stage will be set up in Edgewood Park (Whalley Avenue and West Rock Avenue) to allow for social distancing.
On May 7 at 6:30 PM, Thabisa, a singer of Afro-pop songs, and musicians of the New Haven Symphony will collaborate to create a sure-to-be-rocking performance! As always, DJ DOOLEY-O and Alisa (from Alisa’s House of Salsa) will be there to get everyone dancing! There will also be local artists and bands, including the Midnight Strangers, a pop-rock group of three sophomores who are sure to pump up the crowd! Lead singer of the Midnight Strangers, Jack Marchand, says, “Artwalk is great; it gives us a platform to perform on a larger scale, and is just so fun. It really brings the New Haven community together through a love of art.” Marchand’s take on Artwalk is a superb example of just how influential artwalk can be in spreading unity throughout the town. I always see people at Artwalk whom I haven’t communicated with in months, and it is amazing to be able to reconnect with old friends.
Thabisa, an Afro-pop, world music, soul artist, always performs at Artwalk, and this year will not be any different!
Theatrical performances will also take place. For example, a virtual improv performance by The Regicides will be taking place on May 4. Although there are only 100 “seats” on Zoom, there is also a broadcast of the event on YouTube (the link can be found on the Artwalk website). Unfortunately, there will not be any food trucks this year, however, to make up for this, Artwalk is featuring a brand new event of an Edgewood Park film screening. This will include Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a genius film by Taika Waititi, and certain short films.
The Regicides, an improv group, are performing on Zoom and YouTube at Artwalk 2021
Other Artwalk attractions include tie-dyeing, spin art, yoga, a pet parade, live artist work shows, silent auctions, and the ever-famous Duckie Race. Many local artists rely on Artwalk as a source of income, so everyone should try to support them! The Duckie Race is for both kids and adults, in which people buy rubber duckies to race down the West River in hopes of winning the Duckie Cup! All of the proceeds from the Duckie Race go to the Westville Small Business Fund, an increasingly important entity during the pandemic, which poses struggles to local businesses.
After School Art With Muffy will return to Artwalk to create activities including spin art.
Artisans always sell goods at Artwalk, and this year will be the same with modifications for social distancing.
For more information, visit https://westvilleartwalk.org/ to find an event that interests you. The Greater New Haven area is lucky to witness the grand return of Westville Artwalk. Even though it may not be entirely back to its pre-pandemic splendor, Artwalk will brighten the day of anyone who attends.
The Duckie Race is an annual occurrence at the Westville Artwalk.