Bringing the arts to Westchester Square has been a goal of the area’s business improvement district, and its ‘artist in residence’ is certainly helping.
Lenward Snead of the non-profit Westchester Square Arts Center at 2616 E. Tremont Avenue is a welcome addition to the Westchester Square BID’s street fairs and outdoor events, said Lisa Sorin, WSBID executive director.
Snead has brought a high level of artistic expression – with paints, palates, easels and canvasses – items that are not regularly seen at outdoor community events in the area, she said.
“We love having him here in the district,” said Sorin, adding “He is bringing a new twist on art that is really something different to this part of the Bronx.”
Aside from the classes Snead holds in his studio, and those held at street fairs and movie nights, he recently held his first paint party on Friday, July 29.
Snead hosted a group of six women, a ‘birthday club’ who gather together to celebrate each other’s birthdays.
“There are one or two bars in the area that (have painting parties), but this was in an art studio,” said Sorin of the event.
The birthday group celebrated one of their own, Elizabeth Figueroa, and each member painted their own versions of a somewhat erotic abstract painting, said partygoers.
The artist had been looking forward to hosting a painting party at his studio for a couple of months, he said.
“Hosting in this particular instance means providing the space and directing the painting,” said Snead. “The paining was displayed and I painted along and gave instructions on how to approach it.”
The group followed along and each of the women painted their own version, said Snead, adding that there was a lot of laughter and critiquing of each other’s work.
The artist and center director said that the party was not all that different from the work he does at outdoor events, except for the wine.
Attendees said they enjoyed the paint party.
“It is a different kind of event, and it was a lot of fun,” said participant Geri Sciortino, who said that she found it very relaxing and ended up loving it.
She believes the studio promotes business in the area because it keeps people in the shopping district by providing another activity.
The painting party event was just another example of how the arts center is part of a new direction for the Westchester Square community, said Snead.
“What we did was to try to bring art into the neighborhood by putting ourselves right into the center of the community and build a following so that people could come to our exhibitions and appreciate the arts,” said Snead.
For more information on the Westchester Square Arts Center, call (718) 684-4589 or visit online at w2ac.org.