2015 will be ArtsWestchester’s 50th anniversary, and in celebration, the organization is seeking to recognize 50 local creative artists to highlight as part of their “50 for 50” showcase.
According to ArtsWestchester Deputy Director Of Programs and Policy Joanne Mongelli, the showcase will help look at their anniversary via the creative community they helped foster over the past half-century.
“Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of artists, but unlike some places—if you think of New York City, you know the places artists gather—in Westchester, it’s more spread out,” Mongelli said. “Westchester has a lot of artistic talent percolating under the surface, but I don’t think it’s fully recognized. You might go to a gallery or an exhibition and think it’s a one-shot.”
The ArtsWestchester building.
In the year 2000, ArtsWestchester held a similar contest on a much smaller scale—less than ten artists were showcased then. In recognizing a group of 50 local artists, Mongelli said ArtsWestchester hoped to achieve two goals.
“Communities all over the county—Peekskill, Port Chester, New Rochelle, White Plains, And Yonkers—have developed the workspaces to attract artists from all over to Westchester,’” Mongelli said. “We thought by brining a large group together, we could do two things: recognize individual artists in their own right, but also make the public aware that there is this community of creative people creating their own work in Westchester.”
The guidelines state all nominees must be Westchester-based creative artists (as opposed to performing artists like musicians or dancers, although Mongelli stressed ArtsWestchester was not trying to downplay their importance or talent) who have been active in the artistic community for at least three years with some public showing of their work, such as a presentation or exhibition. Additionally, artist cannot self-nominate, a requirement created to prove others have recognized the artistic achievement of an individual creator.
An independent panel will make the final selection of winners. Each of the 50 artists selected will receive an award of $1,000 and public recognition. The selected artists may also be featured in Beyond NYC: A Festival of New Work in Westchester, ArtsWestchester’s signature program scheduled for 2015.