ArtWeek Presents Unique and Diverse Events Offering Creative Experiences for Families Statewide and Many are Free

ArtWeek MA, which is presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center,is an award-winning festival taking place from April 26 – May 5, 2019 featuring hundreds of unique and creative experiencesthat are hands-on, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process. The 2019 festivalwill include nearly 600 events that span the Commonwealth’s six regions: Greater Boston, North of Boston, South of Boston, Cape Cod and the Islands, Central Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2013, the festival has grown tremendously throughout the state with this year representing over 125 communities. With the support of 150 statewide, regional, and community media partners, ArtWeek has been able to continue its expansion, making it more accessible to all.

By offering unique and affordable – or often free! – neighborhood-based events that provide even more access to art, culture, and creativity, ArtWeek has worked to move a spotlight on the thriving creative economy in Massachusetts. Events truly span creative genres ranging from events at museums and landmarks, to music and open studios, to culinary arts and public art, and everything in between. Through community, artistic, and media collaborations, this festival provides experiences in dance, folk and traditional arts, such as fashion, media arts, spoken-word, poetry, writing, contemporary visual arts, music, opera, theater, design, film and much more. Celebrating all forms of creativity and with over 70% of events being free, ArtWeek provides an affordable and accessible way for everyone who lives, works, plays, and visits Massachusetts to experience the arts.

The festival serves as an educational and interactive experience, especially for families! ArtWeek encourages families to participate in a wide variety of events that can help children learn more about a particular artistic outlet by having a hands-on experience. The activities also serve as a way to strengthen bonds within a family that has similar interests or who wants to get creative together.

Families in the Greater Boston area will have the opportunity to meet artists from the New England Watercolor Society, learn how to make dragon puppets, and even create edible pancake art. These opportunities, along with many more, are accessible and cost effective for any family wanting to experience the arts with their children. From April 26 until May 5, 2019, the Greater Boston area will transform into a dynamic canvas where event attendees can physically interact or visually experience art and creativity in diversified forms.

For those looking to have a hands-on experience, South Street Diner’s ‘Eat Your Art Out’ invites participants to indulge in their love of arts andpancakes during the decorating event. The Boston diner will host pancake decorating on both Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. For only $5.00, guests will be provided with pancakes, cookie cutters, and an array of toppings to create their own edible art. And of course, guests can eat their creations! If creating wearable art sounds appealing, then head on over to Watertown where ARTrelief is hosting a Beading LAB. Attendees can make bracelets, necklaces, anklets, earrings or anything else they desire. In the spirit of creating and interacting with art, Beautiful Forms To See encourages innovators of all skill levels to attend their See the World Differently through Kaleidoscope Sculptures event. Aspiring artists attending the free event will learn about the construction of kaleidoscopes, specifically their mirror systems and the many different types. The event will help artists understand how kaleidoscopes are made which increases the knowledge of science, technology, engineering art and math skills. The majority of the event will be discussing the connection between the Boston Lighthouse and the kaleidoscope. The sculptures are adjustable for all heights, including children and those in wheelchairs, making this once in a lifetime event accessible for all who are interested!

Along with fun, interactive activities, ArtWeek also features visual educational and cultural experiences for the whole family to look through the artistic lens. On April 27, film enthusiasts can visit the Boston Public Library as they host the 90-second Newbery Film Festival. The transient film festival features a series of 90-second video adaptations of books that have received a Newbery Award and honor. The screening will showcase some of the best nationwide film entries as well as those locally produced. Aspiring artists and admirers can make their way to Brookline where they will experience Art for All: Work by Artists with Disabilities. Presented by Gateway Arts, the non-profit will be showcasing a pop-up gallery exhibition at their street-level store. All works of art displayed are crafted by local artists with disabilities. Along with the original artwork, a custom, one-of-a-kind caricature drawing by Gateway artist, Darryl Richards, will be displayed only during ArtWeek. The festival strives to take people’s minds to a unique place, and what better way than to combine art and live animals? Thanks to ArtWeek at Franklin Park Zoo, families can celebrate art in a wild way. On Sunday, April 28, the Franklin Park Zoo will host a day-long event where families can express their love of all things wild and wonderful through music, watercolor art, and more. Attendees will be able to watch the artists from the New England Watercolor Society as they draw inspiration from the animals and create masterpieces en plein air.

In recognizing that families may have very young children who they would like to introduce to the arts, ArtWeek includes events geared towards the youngest members of the family.For starters, on April 27, kids can attend a reading with local author, Jim Petipas, at The Cows Go Moo! Storytime with Jim Petipas event. Children will be able to listen Petipas as he reads his own book about a particularly musical herd of cows. The attendees will be able to sing-along to the cows’ song, create dance routines to go along with it, and watch Petipas illustrate the herd right in front of their eyes. The event is located at the J.P. Licks courtyard on Newbury Street, allowing participants to snack on their favorite ice cream all while learning and engaging with a local author.

Another event geared towards children will be hosted by the Boston College Arts Festival at the Boston College Arts Festival Children’s Programs who are presenting a special day of children-centered activities. Again, on April 27, from Noon to 5:00 p.m., families can take children to the 21stannual festival where they will provide an afternoon filled with a variety of participatory children’s activities, including homemade arts and crafts, face painting, and cookie decorating. Kids even have the chance to experience the Children’s Theatre, Children’s Story Hour and the Instrument Petting Zoo with the Boston College Marching Band. The Boston College Arts Festival will also include a series of other events for families with younger children.

Contributing greatly to its expansion from Greater Boston communities and beyond, ArtWeek’s overarching goal has been guided by commitment to unify local communities through its diverse events. This success has been due in part to the increasing involvement and support of families in each of these communities. By just participating, children and parents have been creating wonder memories during the festival after sharing wonderful experiences year-after-year, which is why ArtWeek family-friendly events are so popular. This year, the Arlington Street Church is hosting a free Family Day at the Tiffany Windows Educational Center. Families are welcome to enjoy art-focused activities while simultaneously visually experiencing some of the most beautiful stained-glass windows. Beyond the visual representation and beauty of the 16 nine-foot-tall Tiffany windows, families will learn all about the making of stained glass and why artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany, was so special in his craft. In addition, children will have the opportunity to jump into fun activities including an interactive scavenger hunt and the chance to color and create their very own wax ‘stained-glass’ Tiffany window to take home.

Along with a day of family activities at the Tiffany Windows Educational Center, Harvard University is offering another free, family-friendly day of activities with a focus on the performing arts. The ARTS FIRST Festival at HARVARD Highlights is Harvard’s annual celebration of the creativity of their students and faculty. On Saturday, May 4, the annual festival is hosting a special ArtWeek experience for the public by adding ‘Make Art’ stations throughout the festival. The ARTS FIRST festival also includes a performance fair featuring more than 11 stages and over 1,000 performers. Live performances include the Harvard University Band, DanceFest on the Plaza, Pakistani singer Ali Sethi and many more! The festival encourages families to experience the joy of engagement in the arts while also giving participants the ability to enjoy the historic buildings and eclectic, open spaces throughout the university.

Of course, there are also hundreds of other family-family events happening throughout the state which makes ArtWeek the perfect excuse for an afternoon road trip or even an affordable weekend getaway! ArtWeek continues to welcome youth-oriented arts experiences for kids and families knowing how important creativity is to young minds. Children will learn through valuable experiences at a very accessible locations and with little-to-no fee. The hope? Spreading the knowledge and fun of art and creativity into the future generations. The festival is a great way to shake up spring by getting out and exploring the Greater Boston area through a new lens! Events are sure to please the whole family and will always focus on making creativity accessible and affordable to all, through hands-on, interactive and behind-the-scenes experiences.

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