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  • Jessie Olson

Be Part of Our Community

What does the word community mean to you?  Merriam Webster defines it as “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” 

Five years ago, I found with a group with a common interest - the Fitchburg Art Stewards.  I was looking for a way to connect with creatives outside of my work, to learn more about the people writing, performing, painting, designing, and spent their time and lives in Fitchburg.  I’ve always been drawn to creative energy, so it was as much professional curiosity as a desire to make connections with people who could become friends.

We gathered in the community room at NewVue that first summer in 2019.  Each session was an opportunity for someone to share a creative passion that spurred the production of a concert or a festival or a public art project.  We listened to our peers share how they learned from mistakes, built an audience, and pursued their art.  It was an opportunity to share lessons, resources that helped, as well as build friendships.  Those connections were put to the test in early 2020 when we were all challenged to put together a festival for Leap Day in a few weeks. We dreamed up, designed, and assembled four light sculptures as others took on scheduling live music and food.  It was a frenzy that ended up being on the coldest Saturday of the year. It was also a last opportunity to be out with people in a year that changed everything.

The Art Stewards came back together after the world shut down.  We continued to meet and welcome new members on zoom, sharing more projects and contemplating topics like gentrification and ways to build a successful small business. 

Over the years, different groups of the Art Stewards have taken those conversations and partnerships to work on murals, another light festival in 2022, and joined committees/boards/organizations or created their own.  One group was the Fitchburg Arts Collective, who began what became Main Street Studios. 

The Art Stewards remain an opportunity for creatives to come together and learn, but also share conversation about the arts and ways in which we can take those interests to serve the larger community.

In March and April, the Art Stewards will meet at Main Street Studios for a series of meetings about a place where a community of artists and creatives will be able to live and work in downtown Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Arts Community. There will be apartments and studios in the former BF Brown School and neighboring buildings.  If you would like to learn more about the construction timeline and application process, this session is a perfect opportunity to get the details and ask questions. More importantly, it will be a discussion of how the artists who live in those buildings can be a part of and help grow the art community that is already working and living in Fitchburg. 

I hope you will consider joining us on Wednesday nights to be part of that conversation and find the people who share your interest. The first session is on Wednesday, March 6.  You can come to one or come to all. 

Be a part of our community.

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