The Whalley Avenue gateway to the heart of Westville just got a bit more eye-catching.
Banners provided by the Westville Community Management Team and Southern Connecticut State University have been added to the almost two-year-old, decorative median that divides and calms traffic on Whalley Avenue leading into the Village.
The banners went up Friday morning. Lizzy Donius, who heads up the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (WVRA), and artist Susan McCaslin, made sure that they had all the banners sorted properly. Donius was almost giddy that the banners finally were going up. They’d been in her office for the last couple of months. Getting them up had been delayed by scheduling and weather.
The management team had approved using a little over half of the $10,000 that the neighborhoods get each year to put up a large banner that would hang across Whalley Avenue and promote village happenings. But the exorbitant costs of the poles and finding a suitable location thwarted that idea.
Instead, WVRA opted to put banners on the decorative street lights in the median. SCSU signed on as a partner, which is also helping to defray the cost of the project.
“This further solidifies Southern’s presence as a part of the neighborhood,” Donius said.
Patrick Dilger, SCSU’s director of integrated communications and marketing, agreed with that sentiment.
“We thought this was a great way to highlight both Southern and Westville, together – it’s a nice point of entry to both our communities,” Dilger said in an email. “For Southern, Whalley and Fitch is an excellent location, as it’s at one of the main access routes to our campus.”
SCSU President Joe Bertolino said that as the university commemorates its 125th anniversary, the banners celebrate its historic ties to the city and the growing partnership with Westville and WVRA.
“As a public university, Southern is ‘in and of the community,’ dedicated to advancing the public good and partnering with our neighbors to help resolve issues and create opportunities,” he said.
McCaslin along with her husband and fellow artist George Corsillo of Design Monsters designed the banners that represent Westville. And she helped Donius Friday lug them to the median in preparation for a two-man team from Signs & Neon and their bucket truck to hoist the banners and attach them to the street lights. The art reproduced on each of the banners is created by an artist who lives or works in Westville. Those artists include: Frank Bruckmann, Martha Savage, Beth Klingher, Dooley-O, Noe Jimenez, Alan Grenier, Caryn Azoff, Tracie Cheng, John Keefer, Katie Kindilien, Don Wunderlee, Dan Gries, Sigrun Mueller, and Oi Fortin.
As a technician made quick work of installing both the Westville and SCSU banners, traffic whizzed by while a police officer looked on. The two women cheered.
“decorative median that divides and calms traffic”, are you kidding me. I live on Whalley Avenue and the traffic hasn’t changed since they put this median in. The median looks nice but that’s about it. Maybe someone else can possibly explain to me how exactly this median changed the speeding cars I see every day and night.
posted by: westville man on September 17, 2018 8:01am
What would be more exciting would be to get those two other restaurants open at some point. Dinner options are extremely limited for an area that draws upon 4 different towns.
posted by: scarab on September 17, 2018 10:33am
Nice Lizzie…good placement…makes the area inviting and appealing…shows economic growth, stimulation….congrats on parntership with SCSU…advertises the benefits of the commuity…makes it more cohesive and gives it a sense of mobility…
posted by: ADAK on September 17, 2018 10:38am
The median, lights, and trees look great! The banners create a sense of place, and I love the SCSU is attempting to connect Westville Village with its campus better.
People may still speed on Whalley Ave, but as they pass by this median they at least realize they are entering a commercial district. Narrowing roads themselves have proven to slow cars down. This is all part of a long process, and I am glad people are working towards things instead of just complaining.
The next best thing is for that abandoned warehouse right after the median to be turned into something lively. The disconnect (right now) is the banners call out the village, but it’s couple blocks until something of substance shows up.
posted by: Bill Saunders on September 18, 2018 12:54am
You overspent on Banners, Westville!!!
They are an expensive alternative to ‘community events’!
Same problem I have with the “I Matter” Project. You can’t ‘print’ yourself out of the problems that the community is facing!
Maybe the Management Team money should be for inclusive community events only! That is the real stuff that brings people together!
Why should some artists get ‘special treatment’?
What was the process to select these featured artists? Who in the community was ‘left out’ and why? Who in the community didn’t even apply for consideration? Was there even a process?
I keep saying it again and again. There is NO PLACE in community art projects for personal aggrandizement! To think, I thought Westville was somehow ‘enlightened’, but it is a lie! This is just desperate marketing!
Develop the community through inclusive events, not through these little narcissistic enterprises.
I know you all feel so good about it, you Westville insiders, but you need to pull your egos out of it a little and think about EVERYBODY!
The artists are at their best when they are part of an active community engagement, rather that as a ‘beautification project’.
That is the only way this stuff really works in the long term.
Everyone needs to be treated as equals in the community, and their talents are showcased rather than objectified as part of inclusive, free, community events.
I know your property values took a hit this last reval, Westville, but this is a wrong-headed approach at community building.
There are no Local Heroes. There is only Community.
posted by: Bill Saunders on September 18, 2018 12:59am
Herein known as ‘Bannerville’.......
If the Incredible Hulk really lived there, that would be real tourist attraction!
posted by: Bill Saunders on September 18, 2018 1:03am
The proliferation of banners in town makes me wonder if there is a ‘sole source’ for printing that the City is hot on….
But don’t listen to me— I have a lot of questions…....
posted by: Bill Saunders on September 18, 2018 4:42pm
My point is don’t spend that kind of money to prop individuals up—put that money into MORE inclusive community programming!!!!
I will tell you something straight up—I am familiar with ‘a few’ artists living in Westville—a common feeling is that the whole ‘mystique’ about Historic Westville Village is just an ‘insiders clique’.
That is a bad message to have ‘roaming around’ your small community, especially if you are proffering a ‘Renaissance’, when things might be slipping back into the “Dark Ages’
Personally, aside from House of Chao, I have absolutely no reason to visit!