WESTERLY — In what has become a much-loved Memorial Day tradition, the annual Virtu Outdoor Art Festival will return to Wilcox Park this weekend for the 23rd year in a row.
Hosted by the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, the art show, which attracts more than 20,000 people annually, will feature the fine, selected works of 140 professional artists and crafters while music and song fills the air.
For children, the popular Creation Station, always a major attraction for children and their families, will provide opportunities for children to “explore their creative energies through hands-on participation in numerous activities, including slate painting, decorating beach pails and hats,” according to Chamber President Lisa Konicki. There will also be free face painting and 100 large pieces of sidewalk chalk so children can participate in transforming the park walkways into colorful designs.
“Virtu is defined as a ‘love of fine arts,’” said Konicki in a statement. At Westerly’s Virtu, she said, “The talents and imaginations of artisans will combine to create the magic that is the Virtu Art Festival.”
Adding more color to the landscape, several trees will be “yarn-bombed,” Konicki added. Linda Mossberg and Christina Adair, volunteers from Westerly Health Center, and volunteers who come from all over Connecticut and Rhode Island, having been “recruited via social media outreach, will knit or crochet colorful hand-created adornments for the trunks of trees as part of this unique display.”
“Yarn-bombing has grown in popularity across the country,” she said, “and was first introduced in this region at the 2015 Virtu Art Festival.
The trees will remain decorated for two weeks following Virtu, she said.
There will also be plenty of food and drink, Konicki said, provided by Nutmeg Concessions and available on the esplanade next to the library.
Konicki said volunteers are still needed for a variety of tasks, including artist set-up, on Friday from noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., and breakdown Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m., and to provide breaks to the artists, face painting, managing the Creation Station and more. All volunteers will receive commemorative T-shirts for their efforts. Anyone interested in helping can call 401-596-7761 or “just show up,” she said.