Boston: City of Art

Boston Art Week (Stock) A yarn graffiti workshop, a percussion ice music performance, a futuristic fashion show—these diverse events represent only a portion of the 79 eclectic activities offered at this year’s Fall ArtWeek. From Sept. 27 through Oct. 5, Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods will be hosting a second season of the art-filled extravaganza.

Held biannually as one of the Citi Performing Arts Center’s many initiatives, this function, according to Sue Dahling-Sullivan, chief strategic officer and creator of ArtWeek Boston, has“a little bit of everything.” The gathering – inspired by the popularity of Restaurant Week, another biannual event in the city - aims to allow attendees to partake in as Dahling-Sullivan describes, “one of a kind, unusual experiences that you couldn’t get any other time of year.” Rather than encounter art in the more traditional and passive manner, a goal of ArtWeek is to have viewers transcend and take an interactive role. “As a nonprofit we really wanted to define ourselves beyond just the four walls of our theaters,” Dahling-Sullivan explains. “We want people to think outside the box, outside the theater, and outside what they normally think many arts and culture experiences have become.”

Helping to achieve this vision is iconic Boston artist, Sidewalk Sam. Also known as the “Picasso of sidewalk art,” Sam will not only perform, creating his own work for the event, but plans to call artists and art appreciators alike to share their artistic skills. Attendees are invited to respond to Sam’s artwork with their own drawings which will then be included in the exhibit.

ArtWeek not only challenges patrons to become actively involved, the team at the Citi Center hopes to connect people to the local creative communities. For this reason, the event will encompass a wide variety of mediums in order to promote and support creative expression within the area. Other featured presentations include performances and documentary screenings in addition to numerous interactive activities made possible by partnerships with over 200 artists and institutions. Even Emerson will take part in the festivities. Sponsored by our very own writing, literature, and publishing department and emersonWRITES, ArtWeek will include a creative writing master’s class. Open to the public, Emerson professors and graduate students will proctor inspiring writing exercises and provide advice for prospective writers.

Although orchestrating these contributors and planning such a gathering was a significant undertaking, ArtWeek has grown exponentially in its short existence. When the organization first launched last fall, it comprised a mere 29 events. By the following spring, ArtWeek expanded to include 69 volunteering artists. Looking to the future, Dahling-Sullivan expects an increase in their number of contributors to well over 100. “We hope [ArtWeek] will not only become a local tradition, but one that will catch on nationally.”

This season’s theme calls ArtWeek goers to “take art into their own hands.” Ultimately, planners hope this will enable the people of Boston to, as Dahling-Sullivan states, “have a series of wow moments, memories that will stay with them.” With the diverse variety and affordability of offerings—over half of these events are free of charge—everyone will have the opportunity to express themselves.