Dear Friends of ArtsWestchester:
2018 marked 20 years of occupancy in our historic downtown White Plains building…
20 years of loving care, restoring and transforming the former People’s National Bank & Trust building into what has become a cultural hub of arts activity by artists and creative businesses.
In honor of our “building birthday,” we installed new signage on the exterior of the building and commissioned a public art street mural. Bringing this art to the street was our way of taking all of the creativity that happens inside the building out in front, as a kind of vibrant welcome mat for the community. We expanded our Teen Tuesdays programming, (adding Thursdays), which offers free hands-on arts workshops for teens in transition. The ArtsWestchester Triennial got off the ground, the first of a once-every-three-years art happening that features outstanding works by artists in the Hudson Valley region. More than 90 artists were nominated.
A milestone year for ArtsWestchester, 2018 was all about bringing the arts to the community and celebrating the diversity among our arts organizations. In 2018, ArtsWestchester’s vision to launch an ArtsMobile became a reality with the vital support of White Plains Hospital and Con Edison.
Next year, there’s more to come. Thanks to all…we couldn’t have done it without your support.
Janet T. Langsam
2018 marked twenty years of ArtsWestchester owning and operating its nine-story home at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains. It marks the anniversary of the ambitious decision by ArtsWestchester’s Board of Directors to purchase what was a vacant bank building. Their vision was to transform the unique building into a cultural destination filled with creative energy and arts programs for residents and visitors to Westchester County.
Today, ArtsWestchester is home to artists, artisans, architects, designers, curators, arts administrators and other creative businesses. It also provides County residents and visitors with easy access to a wide range of cultural programs, including exhibitions, concerts, family art workshops and performances.
ArtsWestchester mounted two major exhibitions in its Peckham and Shenkman Galleries in 2018. The inaugural ArtsWestchester Triennial showcased the vanguard of our region’s arts community by offering a snapshot of “what’s now and what’s new” in contemporary visual art. The Triennial, a once-every-three-year exhibition, featured artwork by 15 Hudson Valley artists and was curated by Paola Morsiani and Marc Straus. The gallery’s fall exhibition, Brick by Brick: The Erie Canal & the Building Boom, which was inspired by the shared story of the Erie Canal and the Hudson Valley brickyards, was funded with a $75,000 grant from New York’s Regional Economic Development Council. Artwork from 12 regional artists was positioned alongside historic materials, as well as colorful personal accounts of brick-industry descendants and brick enthusiasts.
ArtsWestchester unveiled a vibrant street mural, marked by a ribbon-cutting with artist Wane One and White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, to commemorate its 20th year in its historic building. The public art installation, entitled “Brighter Colors Better Life,” now serves as a colorful welcome mat that invites residents and visitors into ArtsWestchester’s gallery and building.
Throughout 2018, ArtsWestchester continued to provide short- and long-term artist residencies, bringing art to schools to enhance their existing curriculum through hands-on performing, literary and visual art activities. Throughout the year, ArtsWestchester’s community education programs helped individuals who are struggling with mental illness. The programs are designed to increase socialization, improve dexterity and cognitive abilities in older adults, and create meaningful creative activities that boost self-confidence and self-esteem in youth.
In 2018, ArtsWestchester secured funding from White Plains Hospital and Con Edison to make its ArtsMobile proposal a reality. The goal of the ArtsMobile is to bring free arts programming for audiences of all ages to community sites and events. Professional teaching artists will provide hands-on arts workshops, designed to spark imagination and encourage creative expression, to those who have little or no access to the arts.
ArtsWestchester kicked off 2018 with a community program that featured hip-hop poet Toni Blackman, who worked with youth from the Carver Center, Children’s Village, Safe Harbor, the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle, and Family Services of Westchester in an improvisational program offered in its gallery.
During the month of September, ArtsWestchester collaborated with the City of White Plains and the White Plains BID to present the seventh annual JazzFest White Plains festival. JazzFest offered 23 performances at 13 diverse venues over a five-day period. The festival reached an audience of more than 3,500 jazz enthusiasts of all ages.
In 2018, ArtsWestchester distributed over $1.3 million in funding to organizations and individual artists. ArtsWestchester’s grant programs are supported by funding from Westchester County Government and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and are designed to increase organizational capacity, enhance cultural and educational programming, and support individual artists in the creation of new work. At the request of NYSCA, ArtsWestchester now administers state grants for Rockland County.
In 2018, ArtsWestchester also continued to offer robust technical assistance and professional development opportunities, including instructor-led workshops in grantwriting, social media and board development.
Throughout 2018, ArtsWestchester focused much of its marketing efforts on web and social media in order to build awareness for the arts in Westchester and to boost arts audiences. ArtsWestchester connected people of all ages and backgrounds to the arts community through artsw.org, its comprehensive online calendar, as well as its weekly “Top 5 Arts Picks” web feature. With more than 17,500 people following us on social media, we stepped up our content creation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube with more video content and animated graphics.
ArtsWestchester’s marketing and development teams worked together to generate broad support for ArtsWestchester by promoting and producing four annual signature fundraising events in 2018 including: the Arts Award Luncheon, ArtsBash, the Golf Outing and the Gala. Additionally, ArtsWestchester membership and Friends of ArtsWestchester events were held throughout the year to generate greater awareness of ArtsWestchester’s programs and the diverse cultural events offered throughout Westchester County.