Thousands Dive Into Westville’s ArtWalk

Melinda Tuhus PhotoPainters—professional and otherwise—took turns with a vibrant palette of colors, filling in the outlines of a mural of Westville Village drawn by artist and art teacher David Sepulveda. It was one of the main points of interest at this year’s Westville ArtWalk, which drew thousands to the neighborhood on Friday and Saturday.

Sepulveda (pictured) said he wanted to develop a project that would bring artists together. “It’s a way for artists to meet each other and have dialogue,” he said, but added, “We opened it up to everyone because of the level of interest.”

“Our surroundings are often so familiar we don’t notice them,” he said. So he drew his mural to be accurate in every detail, posting color photos along its length so participants would know exactly how to paint in the outline. He said the project is aimed at promoting a sense of place, and was inspired by the Connecticut Main Street program, which designated Westville Village among the recipients of a state arts grant. (Read about that here and here.)

Software engineer John Loxsom (pictured on the chair) is also a sculptor—in ice and in marble. He at first hesitated to say call himself an “artist,” but then took ownership of that avocation, saying Sepulveda had encouraged him to follow his passion. “One winter I had 350 ice balls in my yard” from which he sculpted various creations. he said. “David helped me move a granite boulder last year. He said, ‘You have to make a bird bath’ from it, and I did.” He judged his input on the mural to be “of grade school quality,” but that didn’t stop him from fully enjoying himself. “We are very proud of our neighborhood,” he added. “It’s diverse and we get along.”

Larry Morelli held his brush in such a way that a reporter pegged him as a pro. He is, doing figure painting in acrylic as a member of the Kehler Liddell Gallery. He was less than enthusiastic about the mural painting, saying a friend talked him into helping out. “But now that I’m doing it, I like it,” he said.

Sepulveda said it would probably take another community gathering—maybe an upcoming farmers’ market in Edgewood Park—to complete the mural, which would in turn generate more community-building. Where will it go? He doesn’t know. “I have no sense of ownership,” he said. That decision will be made by the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance, whose president, Gabriel da Silva, said they haven’t considered all possible venues. Da Silva added that Mayor John DeStefano, who was hobnobbing with the artists and vendors on Saturday afternoon, had expressed an interest in having it displayed in City Hall.

Da Silva estimated that 10,000 people had participated in the festivities, between the gallery openings on Friday night and the day-long activities on Saturday.

Besides the mural painting, music and theater were conducted on three stages, and crafts activities (like this bangle-making table) abounded in the park. I the heart of the Village two rows of white tents offered watercolors, jewelry, ceramics, quilting, bouquets of organic wildflowers for Mother’s Day.

Some demonstrated the so-old-it’s-new art of hula-hooping (click on video for a demonstration), while others participated in the newer pastime of scaling the parks department’s climbing tower.

David Sepulveda Photo

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posted by: Elaine Braffman on May 10, 2010  10:31am

My daughter and son-in-law celebrated mother’s day with me Saturday in WV at the Art-Walk. I had a great afternoon with them. It was a smashing success and the weather began to cooperate and ended up nice and sunny! Good job and thanks for keeping WV on the map of being a place to frequent and enjoy.

posted by: David Sepulveda on May 10, 2010  2:57pm

Thanks to Melinda Tuhus for a good story about the positive synergy Artwalk provides each year. Also thanks to Paul Bass and the New Haven Independent for being the “paper” of record when it comes to New Haven news and affairs. 

My personal thanks to the core of artists, Steve Digiovanni and son Evan, Richard Falco, Bjorn Akselsen, Lori Rossomando, and the folks at Westville Village Renaissance Alliance for their dedication to this project and special help.

posted by: Lori Datlow on May 10, 2010  3:22pm

more great times in Westville…David should be given honorary Mayor status one of these days

posted by: Al Bruhn on May 10, 2010  3:24pm

Great article and very inspirational and well done with a special personal tough to remember only in golden terms - thanks for a great piece of artwork!

posted by: David Sepulveda on May 10, 2010  3:36pm

I forgot to mention my friend and Edgewood Art teacher Katie Kindilien who did a great job holding down the fort and painting on the mural’s right flank…and to George, our lettering specialist who has an unpainted building section waiting for his deft hand and brush!

posted by: Bennett Lovett-Graff on May 10, 2010  4:06pm

Good work, David!  Great story, Melissa!

posted by: sandstorm on May 11, 2010  3:30am

Westville was Festville last weekend and Art Walk was blessed with all of the elements of success.
Contrary to uncertain (or worse) forecasts, the weather allowed cool and dry to prevail,enhancing
the experiences for all. Itinerant artists and artisans enjoyed the incredible hospitality and ambience
of the very special neighborhood. There were cocktails and mocktails and generous refreshments;
from soloists to orchestras, serenading started Friday evening and continued through Saturday, simultaneously and at multiple locations.

Although I am usually skeptical when a play is advertised as “appropriate for all ages”, I was
delightfull surprised to find that the “Broken Umbrella Theatre Company” had written, choreographed
and performed just that. This ensemble did delight audiences of absolutely every age and ethnicity.
We saw a little bit of vaudeville, some operetta, comedy and choreography. The underlying theme of
the importance of imagination, introspection and innovation in contrast to the distractions of internet
and electronic devices resonated with the adult audience while children were delighted with the
creative and colorfully flamboyant costuming, props and especially the tap dancing along with the many
words to express something that is “important, very, highly important”.

I could go on to evaluate the performers, but to no benefit. The joy of productions that are specifically
created for a single event is that it is compelling to see them when they are offered…the next
production will be a new Halloween show as part of the Westville tradition of celebrating Arts in New Haven!!

posted by: patrick lopiano on May 11, 2010  5:52am

Dave Sepulvada continues to impress with his exceptional flair for writing, not to mention his extrodinary talent as an artist and teacher.  This is my first year working with Dave in the Stamford Public School System and I
must say his brilliance and energy never cease to amaze me.

posted by: Bill Connelly on May 11, 2010  6:25am

It turned out to be a wonderful Weekend for all of us. David’s enthusiasm is contagious, it’s just too bad more activities aren’t planned for other times of the year. A Fall gathering would also be great. It’s a lot of work for a few to put together but if it was divided up maybe we could have more excitiing “Events”! Thanks Dave for all the fun! Bill, The Consignment Corner.

posted by: Bjorn on May 11, 2010  4:47pm

David did a brilliant job connecting not only artists, but passersby, with each other. This is the kind of grassroots efforts that really make a difference i a neighborhood, and city like New Haven!

posted by: Ed on May 11, 2010  6:10pm

I’m sorry I missed this event, I didn’t know it was happening until after the fact…

Editor-could you please add a feature to the events calendar were we could subscribe & get an email once a week with new additions.

posted by: Adrienne on May 17, 2010  8:25am

Both David’s news articles on local events and his artwork in Westville Village demonstrate his dedication to the community. The village is fortunate to have such an involved and talented individual in its midst.

posted by: Stacey Maples on May 17, 2010  9:01am

Congrats to all who worked on Art Fest, and thanks to all who willed the weather away!  As always, a good time for all!  Don’t forget that Westville is great, year-round!

posted by: Laureen Mody on May 18, 2010  4:52am

David Sepulveda paints exquisite pictures with a brush and a pen … we are so very fortunate to have him as a teacher and artist in residence at Cloonan Middle School!