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Trender: stART on the Street Co-founder Tina Zlody

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

 

Photo credit: Louie Despres

Who in Central Mass is leading the community in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalWorcester offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today, we chat with stART on the Street co-founder Tina Zlody.  

Homegrown Factor: Born and raised here in Worcester, Program and Event Coordinator for the Visual and Performing Arts Dept. at Clark University. Co-Founder and Co-Director of stART on the Street. Chair of the Worcester Arts Council.

What prompted you to create stART on the Street? 

In 2001, I took part in a community meeting about the intended downtown arts district, during which presenters warned that such an accomplishment would require over twenty years. Afterwards, I and a number of artists and culture activists decided that this time frame was unrealistic for a city already on the move. We created the first stART on the Street festival in about 3 months, and it was anchored in Main South, we only became more mobile in the 4th year.  

The first stART, on Main Street, drew a couple of thousand people. Ten years later, now on Park Avenue, we anticipate 50,000 attendees, 300 artists and crafters, and 75 musical and street performers. The original fall festival is now part of a year-round calendar, including spring and holiday festivals. Last year, the three events brought 75,000 people to the streets of Worcester and to different venues across the city. We remain organized and operated entirely by volunteers.  stART is a team effort and we have 11 AMAZING coordinators that make it all happen, they deserve to be known for what they do as well.

The 10th anniversary of stART on the Street is the fall. Do you have special events planned in honor of the 10th anniversary?

Oh, yes, super exciting stuff! First off we are having an invitational gallery show that will celebrate the arts and their vibrancy during the ten year span of stART on the Street festivals at the Davis Gallery. The show will kick off on August 23, from 5pm to 8pm at the gallery, and will feature longtime festival participants and coordinators' art, crafts and music, installation art, interactive activities, live music by Jon Short, food and more. Artwork will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds to benefit stART on the Street. The gallery show will run through September 26.  

As for our September event, we are going to have 300 artists, three stages, 35+ street acts, free kids' activities and an expanded food court. We have a youth art market, that is specifically for artists under 18, so they can learn to promote and sell their work and the Seven Hills Foundation will also have their artists showing and selling their work.  And , there will be some BIG surprises!   We are working tirelessly planning! 

How would you describe the strength of the arts community? Has it grown through events like stART on the Street?

I think we have an incredibly strong, vital and diverse arts community. With institutions like ARTS Worcester, Worcester Center for Crafts, area colleges and local galleries along with small enclaves of artists all over the city there is plenty to see and learn. I feel so lucky to live in a city with so much creative energy. I think what stART does is it offers new and upcoming artists and fine crafters an opportunity to show and sell their work with a reasonable booth fee and just like it does for established artists and crafters, who may also need an outlet to sell their work. The arts drive the local economy and stART plays a part in that.

What else do you think the arts community needs?

I would like to see a real interest in artists' live work space.

What is next for you?

Hahaha, next is our 10th anniversary event and planning our holiday show. I have a few triathlons to do this summer as well, so the plate is full and I'm incredibly happy to be as busy doing the things I love, in the city I love!

 

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