Warwick’s success, even during a global pandemic, is its ability to reinvent itself. A village on the surface is a cluster of buildings, some residential, some commercial, interconnected neighborhoods, and green spaces. Our village has good bones: A Historic District, a vibrant Business District, beautiful well-kept homes, and wonderful parks. What is an important part about any of these physical attributes is that they are living spaces that with a little imagination can be momentarily transformed. In a simple way, our parks are home to a host of activities – carnivals, sports teams, organized events, spontaneous rally’s, and the list goes on. Due to the continued need for social distancing and with the closure of gyms, a number of exercise programs now take place in our parks in open air. The same transformation happens when we close a street for outdoor dining – a mundane road becomes a piazza, a pedestrian thoroughfare. So, the village is many amazing things – a museum, an arboretum, a concert space, a Farmers Market, but most importantly, an inviting and creative place where we can still feel safe.
This past weekend our Village became an art gallery with the beginning of an Outdoor Public Art Exhibit at Stanley-Deming Park, Railroad Green, and Lewis Park. The exhibit, “Words from Warwick” was produced by Wickham Works and the art will be on display till Aug. 29. Wickham Works commissioned 8 local artists to produce word-based art in response to the pandemic. An all-woman exhibit includes Karen Decher, Nicole Hixon, Heidi Lannino, Amy Lewis Sweetman, Linda Mensch, Cody Rounds, Aurora Robson, and Deb Zimmerman. Each park has three or four installations, all very different, all thought-provoking.
Thank you to Melissa Shaw-Smith and her team from Wickham Works who made this extraordinary exhibit possible. Wickham Works used this format to not only create public art but also engaged the public through online workshops with the individual artists. Wickham Works also is connected to The Warwick Community Center and is responsible for creative programming and youth outreach.
I urge everyone to take some time to view these timely art pieces and how each artist interpreted the theme of “Words from Warwick.”
The first Virtual Summer Concert happened this past Saturday with the band, Emish! Nearly 150 people watched on Facebook Live and some kindly made a donation to the Warwick Historical Society during the concert. The concert aired from the Old School Meeting House thanks to the generosity of the Historical Society. We are hoping to do the next concert in two weeks. A fun challenge! Thank you, Bill and Corrine Iurato, for helping make this happen.