by Michael Keough
With the sun peeking out from behind the clouds and the frigid air growing milder by the day, signs of spring signal the return of ArtsWestchester’s ArtsMobile. Since its inception in 2019, ArtsMobile has been a traveling beacon for creation throughout Westchester. Now it will return to local farmers’ markets, fairs and events throughout the spring, summer and fall. Equipped with supplies for a variety of different arts activities, the ArtsMobile van can roll up to virtually any location and open up shop, providing participants young and old with a free arts activity.
ArtsWestchester’s Director of Arts in Education, Jessica Cioffoletti, says that the ArtsMobile has become one of [the organization’s] key programs: “This is especially true as we emerge from the pandemic. The community has been able to safely gather using creative expression to feel good, socialize and reduce stress under the guidance of a professional artist.”
The program connects trained artists with eager creatives in communities throughout Westchester to help fabricate what may have been an intangible idea, thought or feeling into a tangible final product or experience. Past workshops have included painting, printmaking, clay work, bucket drumming and dancing.
Any person of any age and artistic skill level can immediately participate. Cioffoletti notes that she has seen families, youth, seniors and teens all take part. Once finished, they are left with a creative experience that they may not have had otherwise. The workshops eliminate the need for purchasing supplies or signing up for an art class; everything required is already there at the disposal of an imaginative mind.
Cioffoletti says that while some participants are initially hesitant to try something new, the team of teaching artists and staff puts these worries to rest as they help to carefully guide each individual through their own creative journey.
“There is no ‘messing up’ at an ArtsMobile workshop; only a discovery of what’s possible. Just like the late Bob Ross used to say: ‘We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.’”
The ArtsMobile, which is sponsored by White Plains Hospital, can be spotted throughout Westchester at upcoming events, including the Down To Earth Farmers’ Markets in Ossining (April 16) and Katonah Art Walk (April 23).
A version of this article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.