At its meeting on Oct. 7, the East Windsor Board of Selectmen voted to establish an Arts and Culture Committee in the town.
First Selectman Jason Bowsza said that town staffer Debbie Williams, office/program assistant with the parks and recreation department, suggested the idea. Subsequently, Williams worked with Bowsza and his office to formulate a plan.
A resolution was drafted, which states the committee would be charged with collaborating with other boards and commissions to identify both indoor and outdoor areas in town that could be aesthetically enhanced with art installations and/or community events that would promote tourism.
The committee would consist of five to nine members, who will serve 18-month terms. Members will be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, to which the committee will also report regularly.
As an example, Bowsza said, there was an effort to paint a mural along the ramp at Exit 45. An arts commission would have made the permissions and grants process easier.
Williams said the idea for the committee sprang from when that project was stalled.
“That hit a snag... but that planted the idea to do some kind of art installation here in East Windsor,” Williams said, adding that she had seen similar installations on a recent trip to Burlington, Vermont, which has painted utility boxes and several murals on walls in the city.
Her hometown of Bristol, she said, has also done a lot of the same things.
The Better Together community grants have also been available in East Windsor, but it has to be applied for by a group or committee. Williams said that such a committee could apply for grants for multiple projects.
Bowsza said that Williams had been working on that project, and also provided him with a list of people she’d like to see seated on that commission.
Williams said she recruited local business owners and artists, as well as people with backgrounds in fundraising, and wrote up the mission for the committee, with a deadline of Oct. 18 to apply for the grants.
“It’s a good group for what she’s trying to do,” Bowsza said.
Going forward, Williams said there is unlimited potential for what the committee could do. She plans to reach out to local artists, as well as schools, organizations, and local galleries.
“I’m hoping to start small in size and cost, but not in impact, just to get people interested,” she said. “Then have it hopefully snowball from there. I also foresee people in the community creating the art. I have projects large and small, that everybody can participate in. I’d like to see art installations in a variety of mediums, and for it to encompass visual art, as well as performance art and literature.”
Williams added that the committee also wants to incorporate culture.
“I want to make everyone feel like they’re a part of it, and appreciated and represented,” she said. “I’m certainly open to artists of all kinds and ideas of all kinds.”
The committee members would be appointed only for the 18 months, because the committee is created by the Board of Selectmen, rather than by ordinance. An ordinance could be sought at a later date to give committee members longer terms.
For more information, contact Williams at email@example.com or 860-627-6662.