Arts on the Common Returns Wrentham’s Celebration of the Arts Set for June 4
Drawing several hundred visitors, the annual Arts on the Common returns next month on Wrentham’s town common.
By Grace Allen
After a two-year hiatus, Arts on the Common returns to Wrentham on Saturday, June 4. The juried art show is the Wrentham Cultural Council’s premiere annual event and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.
Evelyn Zepf, chair of the Cultural Council, anticipates close to 35 artists will exhibit and sell their works on Wrentham’s town common, with some demonstrating the artistic process throughout the day.
The free, family-friendly festival will also include performances by local dance troupes, live music, and “Chalk the Walk” on the closed road through the common.
The Old Fiske Museum, the town’s historical museum located right next to the common, will hold a special exhibit on its origins as the town’s library. Also on display will be the Historical Commission’s artifacts and documents from its archives. The museum will be open throughout the day in conjunction with the festival.
In early April, the Wrentham Cultural Council was the recipient of a 2022 Mass Cultural Council Festivals Grant. The grant will allow Arts on the Common organizers to expand the entertainment options currently planned for the festival, noted Zepf, but details were not available at press time.
Arts on the Common provides a venue for both full and part-time artists to showcase and sell their work. The Cultural Council tries to select a wide variety of artists to participate, with considerations like price point and originality factoring into the council’s selections.
“We are looking for artisans,” explained Zepf, who noted the participants come from all over New England. “Things like paintings and fine arts, of course, but any crafts have to show some artistry and be handmade.”
The Arts on the Common festival began several years ago in a quest to promote arts in the community and highlight area talent. Organizers believe the benefits of the arts are integral to healthy, vital communities. The Massachusetts Cultural Council states on its website that “Culture is intrinsically valuable and unique in its ability to lift the human spirit.”
After two years of a worldwide pandemic, people can certainly use a lift. And as for artists themselves, Zepf believes they have embodied a certain resiliency throughout the pandemic. Art, after all, tends to be a solitary pursuit, but artists now have many ways to display and sell their goods online, via Etsy or other e-marketplaces, despite the shutdowns and disruptions of COVID-19.
The Wrentham Cultural Council hopes to become more active as the pandemic recedes. Zepf pointed out the newly-renovated Sweatt Park as a possible location for some of the council’s activities in the future.
“We have electricity down there now and I’m thinking storytellers or poetry slams might lend themselves to that venue,” she mused. “It’s nice because it’s below the street and not nearly as noisy as the common can be with the traffic noise around it. We’re always looking for new ideas.”
Zepf says currently there is one open position on the Cultural Council board and anyone with a desire to encourage and support the arts and culture in Wrentham is welcome to apply.
In addition to annual events like Arts on the Common and quarterly poetry readings, the Cultural Council also awards grants addressing cultural needs specific to the community, following state guidelines. The state provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which then allocates funds to each community.
For more information about the Wrentham Cultural Council or about the open board position, email [email protected]