The first-ever Everett Community Art Walk brought its walking shoes on Tuesday morning and was ready to stroll.
Cultural Council Chair Karyn Alzayer led the charge on Tuesday in City Hall, when she welcomed City officials and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley to explain the month-long event and highlight the local artists.
“We don’t have a lot of art spaces in Everett,” said Alzayer. “However, just because there aren’t a lot of art spaces here, it doesn’t mean we cannot find amazing art spaces. We decided to improvise.”
What that meant was Alzayer walked the streets of Everett all summer long looking for spaces in businesses, community spaces and City buildings where art could be hosted.
She asked many businesses to host just one piece of art, and planned a scavenger hunt around the City during the month of October – all of it centered around recognizing and activating the arts community in the usual places and many unexpected places.
“I walked so many miles looking for space, but I ended up getting 29 businesses to say yes,” she said. “We have 53 pieces artwork hidden around the City in a fun citywide arts scavenger hunt for everyone to discover this month. I’m so excited to many places agreed to participate and so many artists agreed to share their work. It’s very excited to start forming an arts community in Everett.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said the effort is all about putting art and culture at the center of development and the business community.
“I am proud to support the Everett Cultural Council for funding the Everett Community Art Walk along with other outstanding projects,” said Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “I also want to thank our legislative delegation for providing the annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which allows them to fund many art and cultural projects in our community. Local partnership like this between artists, nonprofits, businesses, and the city, makes Everett unique in putting culture at the center of economic and community development.”
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said the arts are something we all enjoy, but supporting the artists in a community is often overlooked. She said artists all too often live below the poverty line and have trouble finding housing and workspaces.
She was very excited to see City government and business working together.
“I have found the best partnerships are those that are community driven and government endorsed,” she said. “This is a truly integrated effort. Truly, art belongs everywhere.”
A map that can be obtained on the Art Walk website or in City Hall shows all of the locations and describes the artwork located across the City. Residents are encouraged to use the map to guide them to see the art in new and different places.
One of those places is the Flavia Leal Institute – a hair design school on Chelsea Street that many know about, but few have visited. During October, Leal said she would host artwork and is very excited about it.
“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “We have an opportunity to bring different people into our business. I am from Brazil originally, but I’ve been here 20 years now. At our business, a lot of Brazilians or Hispanic folks come to the store, but not a lot of other kinds of Americans. We’ve been there a long time, and there are a lot of people who know about us. But our store does tend to get the same clients. This will bring new people in to see what we do and learn about our business.”
The art walk features locations on Main Street, Broadway, Norman Street, the Parkway Chelsea Street, Ferry Street and many other places. There will be a closing reception on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Village Bar & Grill, 38 Norman St.
For those interested in purchasing any of the artwork they see, they can email [email protected].
Participating artists are Daud Alzayer, Karyn Alzayer, Karen McCune Barcka, Gabriela Crinigan, Julia Da Luz, Sarah Darling, Catherine Daze, Myrlene “Mimi” Legendre Desir, Joanna Garren, Amanda Gil, Shaina Gruen, Lois Hutchinson, Annette LeRay, Nirvanna Lildharrie, Lou Lim, Ann LoConte, Joyce Menna, Barbara Messana, Erika Morton, Sarah Narkum, Ann Nigro, Tina M. Oliveri, Yudith Perez, Josephine Rivers, Julz Roth, Sean Shinnock, Carey Glenn Smith, and Danielle Smtanevicz.