Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 WAA Year End Recap


In this season of giving, please consider making your tax deductible donation to the Westfield Art Association. Even if you are not an artist, your donation will allow us to bring more art into our community, expand our outreach and art opportunities to our members, seniors and youth, fund additional demonstrations and seminars by professionals in the arts, and so much more! You can help us continue to provide quality art experiences in Westfield by making your contribution via the "DONATE" button to the right. 

2015 saw many changes at the Westfield Art Association that encouraged and nurtured bringing art to the forefront and enhancing culture and arts in Westfield. This is the first year that we have seen the results of the tireless work of WAA’s new, dedicated board of directors. We tripled our membership, listened to what members wanted and began granting your wishes. 

The Westfield Art Association Board of Directors is proud to provide the following recap of our activities in 2015.


The Board of the Westfield Art Association heard that our members were looking for more exhibiting opportunities and we have been working hard collaborating with local businesses in creating these opportunities for members. Nineteen exhibitions were created in 2015 exclusively for WAA members, including:

Union County Freeholder’s Gallery, Elizabeth
WAA arranged to exhibit member work on the 6th floor of the Union County Administration Building in Elizabeth. Twenty pieces of art by twenty WAA member artists were exhibited from April 13 through May 28. 

A visit to our WAA exhibition at the UC Freeholders Gallery! Nicole DeAugustine, Arts & History Coordinator, tours the gallery with board members Millicent Brody, Sharon Reed, and Avi Kiriakitis.

Mulberry House, Westfield
WAA has created a wonderful synergy between Westfield’s farm-to-table restaurant in combining locally sourced food with home grown art. The first WAA exhibit at Mulberry House took place in the Spring and Summer months and included twenty-three pieces of art by thirteen WAA members. Our second and current exhibit at Mulberry House includes twenty-five works by thirteen artists with the theme of farm, food, fall and winter. This exhibition runs from November 2015 through January 2016. Stop by and show your support for Mulberry House and the WAA. Let them know you are there to se the WAA member exhibit and enjoy a good meal. More information about Mulberry House may be found by clicking here. 

Panoramic view of the WAA Fall/Winter exhibit at Mulberry House

Limani Seafood Grill, Westfield
WAA has also nurtured a collaboration with Westfield’s premiere seafood grill, Limani. Our first exhibition with Limani’s exhibited work by six WAA member artists. Our second exhibition was just hung and will run through January 2016. Stop by and show your support for Limani Seafood Grill and the WAA. Let them know you are there to se the WAA member exhibit and enjoy a good meal. More information about Limani's may be found by clicking here. 

Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival
What better way to combine the arts than pairing music and visual art? It was arranged by the WAA to hold a pop up gallery during the summer’s annual and widely regarded Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival. WAA members exhibited and sold their work each Tuesday evening in July during the jazz performance outside of Gallery U on Westfield and South Avenues, and every Tuesday in August on Elm Street. It was a huge opportunity to exhibit the work of WAA members and the community truly stepped up to show their support of the arts.

The WAA pop up galleries at this past Summer's Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival were extremely popular and made the front page of the Westfield Leader

Holiday Windows Art Exhibit
The WAA exhibitions during the Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival were so successful that arrangements were made with the Downtown Westfield Corporation for WAA to exhibit member work in storefronts during the holiday season. A lot of effort went into coordinating this project, but we couldn’t ask for better results. Thirty-three pieces of artwork by sixteen WAA artists are currently being exhibited at four locations in Downtown Westfield. 

“Downtown Westfield Corporation is pleased to work with the Westfield Art Association,” stated Sherry Cronin, Executive Director of the DWC. “They have been great partners to us not only in bringing art to downtown during the busy holiday season but also during our Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival. Westfield’s art and culture are another great asset of our strong community and critically important to encourage pedestrian traffic in our downtown. Our Economic Development & Promotion committees are especially pleased with the Holiday Windows project and look forward to many more collaborations with the Westfield Art Association in the future."

Sherry Cronin (Executive Director of Downtown Westfield Corporation) with WAA board members Sharon Reed, Michael Endy (President), Robert Langdon and Laura Brown

Pedestrians admire WAA member artwork on Broad Street in Downtown Westfield 


In addition to the leadership role the WAA is taking through the collaboration with DWC, we have also been aligning themselves with other art organizations in the area. Barron Arts Center partnered with us for the Barron Arts Festival in Woodbridge's Parker Press Park and we partnered with the town of Roselle to bring exhibitions to the street festival "Roselle Park Loves Art." You can find see local press coverage for Roselle Park Loves Art and the WAA's participation in the event by clicking here. 

Roselle Park Loves Art

WAA member and Board Member Virginia Puskar held a painting demonstration throughout the day. 

WAA member and Board Member Mary Ann Iannitto provided complimentary portraits throughout the day. 

Roselle Park Mayor Carl Hokanson and WAA president Michael Endy

We partnered with the Roselle Art Association to host the Sketchbook Project—an organization based out of Brooklyn that manages a crowd-sourced library featuring over 33,919 artists’ books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries—through grants received from the town of Roselle and the Union County Freeholders. The event was a huge success and provided numerous children and adults an opportunity to touch and view original art from around the world right in our own backyard. Artists are encouraged to create their own sketchbooks to contribute to the project. More information about the Sketchbook Project may be found by clicking here. You can read local press coverage about the event by clicking here. 

Sketchbook Project

(L - R) WAA president Michael Endy, Sketchbook Project Co-Founder and Director Steven Peterman, Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, Roselle Art Association president Barbara Dixon, and WAA board member Laura Brown. 

Participating at both events brought WAA to the attention of many in the community including influential politicians in Union County who are now supporting the efforts of the Westfield Art Association. This is just the beginning of good things to come. 

Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr who is on the board of the NJ Council on the Arts and a big supporter of WAA with WAA president Michael Endy and WAA board member Sheila Lenga. 

WAA members also provide art classes to the Westfield community through weekly art classes held at the Westfield Community Center and the Westfield Senior Housing. Both classes are extremely popular. We are currently looking for member volunteers to teach future classes, both held on Thursdays. If you are interested, please reach out to us at

WAA member and Board Member Avi Kikriakatis (far right) with some of her students at the classes WAA teaches at Westfield Community Center

Art classes at the Senior Center. First row (L-R): Florence O’Neil, Fermina Sololongo, Norma Thompson and Nick Fusco. Second Row (L-R): WAA member and teacher Avi Kiriakatis, teaching assistant Sharon Reed, Lucille Taliaferro and Karen Sclama.


Our monthly member meetings have been growing to include not just hands-on demonstrations, but also professional artist development seminars, opportunities to be inspired by others in the creative process, social events, and opportunities to pick up supplies at a reduced rate. Our meetings in 2015 included:

“What Every Artist Needs to Know About the Curating Process: An Artist Skills Workshop with Robert Langdon, Curator of Gallery U”

An Art History Seminar with Gene Wisniewski: The 6-Hour Art Major, Part One” 

“An Afternoon of Origami: A Hands-On Workshop With Joy Ann Cabanos”

 “Creating an Online Presence for Artists: An Artist Skill Workshop with Michael Endy”

“Art In the Park: The Sketchbook Project”

“CreativTea: An Artist Party” to discuss ideas about the creative process

Betsy Lee Styskal Memorial Art Supplies Silent Auction & Sale”

Holiday Dinner at Limani Seafood Grill


We now have multiple ways for members to keep informed on current and upcoming activities 

A brand new easy to navigate website where you can see what is upcoming for the WAA and archives of past activities may be found by clicking here.

Another way to keep updated on upcoming and past activities of WAA is through our Facebook group. This is an easy way to let your Facebook friends and supporters know what is going on with WAA. Access and "like" our Facebook page by clicking here. 

We have been using a new e-mail communication tool to distribute information to our active members in a newsletter format. Only active members will receive this e-mail which includes information specific to members such as a call for art for WAA exhibits. Please make sure that you add to your address book so that these e-mails are not sent to your spam folder. 


The WAA is very proud of all that we have achieved in 2015 and we look forward to creating even more professional, social, and exhibiting opportunities in 2016. However, we can not achieve our goal without your help. WAA is run by a volunteer board and we are always looking for members to help out by offering to teach one of our Thursday classes, greet the public at various events, and by submitting work to our calls for art. 

Of course a monetary donation, regardless of how small or large, will make a big difference in bringing art to the forefront in Westfield. Even if you are not an artist, your tax deductible donation will help provide art opportunities to those in your communities. 

You may immediately make your tax deductible donation via major credit cards and/or a pay pal account by clicking the "DONATE" button to the right. You do not need a Pay Pal account to make a donation in this way.

You may also send your tax deductible donation via check to:
Westfield Art Association
PO Box 874
Westfield, NJ  07091

Thursday, December 3, 2015

WAA Decorates Downtown Westfield for the Holidays

At the request of the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC), we have curated art exhibits in the display windows of several recently-vacated stores in the downtown area. To bring attention to these stores and their exhibits of original paintings, drawings, photography, and sculptures, we have also designed and printed a poster and map of exhibit locations that will be up around town for holiday shoppers' information & enjoyment. We hope that shoppers will stroll a bit farther to see the art...

18 of our member artists have had work selected for these custom exhibits by our curatorial team of WAA board members. The displays utilize mannequins, easels, handmade pedestals, twigs and many, many, many wires to create engaging window displays of the original artwork. Each artist displayed has a printed label on the window with their name and details of their artwork, as well as a QR code that links to WAA for contact & purchase information.

The displays can be seen in several locations:

    - on the corner of Central & Quimby
    - along Broad, between Elm & Prospect
    - on Elm, near the public parking lots

Please tell your friends and neighbors (the best PR is word-of-mouth), and please take some time to stroll through town and enjoy the art.

This is terrific and exciting exposure for our exhibiting members, and a great way to add life to our own downtown community. Please remember to mention the exhibits whenever you shop downtown during the holidays, so that business owners hear for themselves the positive impact and increased foot traffic that art displays bring to a vibrant community like Westfield.