By Kellen M. Quigley
For one night out of the year, Main Street in Springville becomes an art gallery, with artwork in every business, music in surprising corners and interactive art activities sprinkled throughout.
The annual Downtown Springville Art Crawl is set for Saturday, May 4 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with free activity for all ages throughout the National Register Historic District.
The deadline to submit artwork to be judged is this Saturday, April 13.
“It’s going to very similar to past years,” said Seth Wochensky, director of the Springville Center for the Arts, which sponsors the crawl. “We help coordinate it, but so much of it happens outside of our control. … The formula is pretty simple: we put artwork in the businesses, get the music going and people seem to enjoy the night walking around Main Street.”
To “crawl,” your first stop should be at the corner of Main and Mechanic Streets to pick up a ballot and a map of the participating locations.
After that, the night is what you make of it, wandering in and out of storefronts from the Pop Warner Museum and Mercantile down to North Buffalo Street and the Arts Center.
Artwork of various kinds, from watercolor to photography and acrylic to collage, is exhibited in businesses in Springville’s historic downtown. The artwork, submitted from across Western New York, will be juried into the show. Some of the work on display is even for sale.
“Every year we add more businesses, and my dream is to have light-to-light every business participate,” Wochensky said.
Wochensky said the plan to continue having outdoor musicians, the arts underground and the kids’ space.
“One thing we’re exploring adding this year is the addition of arts demonstrations and mini-workshops in the afternoon leading up to the crawl,” he said.
Wochensky said in recent years, people have started showing up to the crawl earlier and earlier and there has been an increase of people coming from out of town, so having demonstrations in the afternoon before the crawl begins would give them all more to see.
“We are encouraging community organizations and causes to set up,” he added. “We started that last year and it was very successful.”
Wochensky said any local organization that is interested in having a space to set up and engage the public can contact the Center for the Arts.
Once 8:30 p.m. hits, businesses close and the after-party begins at Springville Center for the Arts, located at 37 North Buffalo St.
Refreshments will be provided in the Olmsted Gallery which features the Spring Community Exhibit. “Crawlers” can vote on their favorite artist by ballot and the award is presented.
Wochensky said events like the Art Crawl provide a “third space” outside the home and work or school where people can gather and mingle.
“People who we don’t see all the time can see each other and main streets in America used to fill that role to a large degree,” he said. “With the changing nature of communities, we don’t have a lot of events that quite do that.”
What’s beautiful about the Art Crawl, Wochensky said, is you can come and go as you please. Each person can experience the event in different ways and there’s something for the whole family, regardless of age.
“Creating a space on Main Street where people can interact is so important, and I wish we could do it more often and in more ways,” he added.
Even if you aren’t an artist, musician or business owner, Wochensky said any can still get involved and volunteer during the event. Just call the arts center at 592-9038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parking is available in the large municipal parking lot south of Main Street or off Franklin Street.
This pedestrian-friendly, free, walking event is held rain or shine. The crawl is sponsored by Springville Center for the Arts, a charitable nonprofit organization.