Metro, Arts, Newton

Students to Display Spooky Artwork at Newton Businesses

Artwork featuring spooky jack-o-lanterns and black cats will once again return to storefronts throughout Newton with Halloween Window Painting on Saturday. This event encourages kids in grades three through eight to unleash their creativity by painting festive scenes for display on doors of participating local businesses.  

“The event creates a deeper sense of connection and civic pride for both the businesses and families that are participating,” said Associative Director of Cultural Development Danielle Moriarty.

Newton hosted a modified version of the event in 2020, in which participating artists decorated a poster on their own and later brought them to business windows. After displaying their art, they returned home. This, Moriarty said, inhibited Newton residents from interacting with each other, since safety was a priority during the pandemic. 

In typical years, kids and families paint together during the day, look at artwork, and celebrate the season, fostering what Moriarty said is a community experience. 

“This year, though, we were really excited to bring back the more traditional approach,” Moriarty said.  

The registration deadline for the event was Oct. 11, but students can register late with a $15 fee. Parents and students can view their window assignments online.

Over 150 businesses are participating across six Newton villages, including Auburndale, Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, Newtonville, Nonantum, and West Newton, Moriarty said. 

Of the businesses participating, Learning Express in Newton Centre is a prominent supporter of the event, Moriarty said. It is offering families a 20 percent discount, which Moriarty said helps more families to be able to buy art supplies. Newton greatly values their support, Moriarty said, because their contribution helps make the event possible. 

About 330 young artists will be painting subject matters ranging from witches, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns to black cats and owls. This year’s number of participants is comparable to previous years, as Newton residents are eager to rejoin the festivities and immerse themselves in the Halloween spirit, Moriarty said.

“A lot of people enjoy it for a lot of reasons. The businesses enjoy being able to engage with the community in a new and different way than they typically do throughout the year,” Moriarty said. “The impact on the kids is the unique opportunity for them to be creating and displaying their work in this unique public setting that they wouldn’t normally have.”

Moriarty said she often receives phone calls from parents, describing how excited their children are to participate now that they are in 3rd grade. This shows that this is an event that residents look forward to, she said. 

The event began in 1999 as a public art initiative to allow Newton’s youngest artists to paint and collaborate with local businesses, as well as expand their scope of creativity, Moriarty said. Participating in this event serves as children’s first opportunity to publicly display their work. 

“Typically, art is often viewed in galleries and museums, or [through] making art in a classroom, but in this situation, it’s a really unique opportunity in that they get to paint and create their work in public, and also display it in public,” Moriarty said.

Featured Image by Molly Bruns / Heights Staff

October 22, 2021