Center for Creativity at the Rialto - September 2023 Community Update
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the acquisition of Westfield’s historic Rialto Theater building by the Westfield Arts Collective, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation made up of local volunteers. Throughout this first year of exploration, the Board of Trustees has collaborated with community members and expert consultants to design the building blocks of our ambitious goal: opening the Center for Creativity at the Rialto, a multi-use community arts center for Westfield and beyond. We are excited to share that Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC of Princeton, NJ, has been selected as the architect for the project. “We were thrilled by the caliber of the proposals we received from numerous skilled firms, and ultimately chose M+Sa for their expertise in designing similar projects and their dedication to historic preservation in New Jersey,” shared Margaret Smith, Board Vice President and co-chair of the Building Committee.
Even with all the planning behind the scenes, the Rialto has been active. Opening the building to the public since it had been shuttered in 2019, the Board is happy to have partnered with numerous local groups to host exhibits, films, concerts, and speakers, including a book signing with former Westfield resident Andrew McCarthy, presented by the Downtown Westfield Corporation, the “African American History in Westfield from 1720” exhibit by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield, the Town of Westfield’s multiple AddamsFest events, two award winning autism awareness films and discussions with the filmmakers, and a collaboration with local artist Ricardo Roig, including his opening a gallery in the building. While operating this programming, the Rialto also faced many of the maintenance challenges of keeping a 100-year-old building in working order.
As we enter this next phase of designing the Center for Creativity at the Rialto with M+Sa, we will have to “dim the marquee lights” temporarily to enable further exploration for what is possible within our historic building. As we embark on the design process, expect to hear from us next with initial designs and a fundraising campaign to bring this ambitious and exciting project to fruition. Thank you for your continued support of the arts in Westfield, and of our organization’s goal to deliver the “Rialto Reimagined!”
The Board of Trustees of the Westfield Arts Collective
Cheryl Marks Young