Arts alliance gets consultant

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A recently formed organization focused on creating art opportunities in Westfield has received funding to develope a plan to accomplish its goal.

Westfield was among six Indiana communities approved for the second iteration of the Indiana Arts Commission’s Vibrant Communities cultural planning consultancy project. The city was selected from 34 applicants. The Arts Alliance of Westfield, a committee of Downtown Westfield Association, plans to use the consultancy in developing a strategic plan for the arts in Westfield.

“Receiving the grant is huge because we’ll get a good strategic plan,” alliance chairman Ken Kingshill said. “It’s not the blind leading the blind. We’ll have something that we can implement – a plan of who is going to be responsible for doing what.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for the Arts Alliance of Westfield. Developing the arts is a key goal in the transformation of Westfield as a destination,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook.

Kingshill said the alliance first began meeting in September and has met once per month since. DWA attempted to put a group together previously, but Kingshill said it “didn’t get off the ground.”

“The mayor has wanted to put together a group for a couple of years now,” he said. “When I became executive director it was one of the first things I wanted to get started. We set it up as a committee of DWA, the focus is not on downtown but all of Westfield.”

The alliance is a core group of eight people with various backgrounds including teachers, artists, dance and performance arts.

“We try not focus on one particular form of art, but all of the arts,” Kingshill said. “We have a lot of resources in the city, we’re not looking for the outside to come in.”

Westfield’s consultant will begin in January and continue through June. Consultants are matched by the IAC with the respective communities. While the consultant will work with the alliance to create a strategic plan, Kingshill said it will be a public process with meetings and input.

In recent years the city has created more public art including the mural on the side of Union Street Flowers, and the sculptures at the entrance of Asa Bales Park and in the roundabout at 151st Street and Carey Road.

“We’re trying to come up with a plan for arts in Westfield,” said Kingshill, “More opportunities for people to get involved in the arts.”


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