Proposals sought to make Westfield's Rialto Theater a regional creative arts center

WESTFIELD – Plans are envisioned to transform the historic Rialto Theater into a community space to inspire, create and showcase visual and performing arts.

The goal of the Westfield Arts Collective, which operates as the Center for Creativity at the Rialto, is to "raise the level of creative energy in Westfield and enhance people's lives through the arts."

The Center for Creativity at the Rialto is seeking proposals to help create a multi-year strategic plan and comprehensive fundraising plan to make the vision of a regional destination for arts and culture come to life.

A request for proposals was recently announced in the search for an individual or firm to guide the process. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Feb. 18.

The Rialto Theater closed unexpectedly in August 2019.
The Rialto Theater closed unexpectedly in August 2019.

The Rialto, a downtown landmark that opened 100 years ago, closed unexpectedly in August 2019. Last year a group of Westfield residents, who had been in the process of creating a "makerspace" in the central business district, organized a not-for-profit corporation and entered a contract with the theater’s owners to purchase the East Broad Street building.

The Center for Creativity at the Rialto is looking to create an inclusive and collaborative community space that highlights the arts through creation, exhibition and education.

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According to the proposal request, a consultant is needed to develop a detailed roadmap to transform the theater into the Center for Creativity at the Rialto where "makers, artists, actors, writers and musicians of all ages and experience levels can connects, create and learn from each other."

The space will not solely be a performing arts center, although performing arts will be part of the mission, according to the plan.

"We envision providing a multi-purpose, flexible, financially viable and vibrant set of programmatic and entertainment activities, with an adjoining cafe/restaurant," according to the proposal request.

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The consultant for the project should be knowledgeable about New Jersey's performing arts industry, understand creative spaces in small markets, have experience with historic buildings and theater restoration and the ability to coordinate with architects on design, as well as have experience with fine art exhibition, art lab creation and arts education, the proposal request says.

Besides a business plan detailing programming and operations, the Center for Creativity at the Rialto requires the consultant to provide a feasibility study for fundraising and capital campaigns.

Completed proposals can be delivered by email and sent to Beth Cassie at


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This article originally appeared on Proposals sought to reimagine Westfield's Rialto Theater