The Westfield Public Arts Commission has announced the upcoming online auction of the butterflies from its first public art exhibit, Art Takes Flight.

Eighteen butterflies will be available for public auction beginning at noon on Dec. 4, 2020, with minimum opening bids of $500, and will conclude on Dec. 10, 2020 at 10 p.m. All funds raised at the auction will be used to support future public art projects in Westfield. The remaining butterflies from the exhibit are being purchased by their respective sponsors or kept by the Town for permanent public display.

Bidders may visit http://www.32auctions.com/westfieldbutterflies to view the available butterflies and set up an account, which is required for placing a bid. Winners will be contacted by members of the Westfield Public Art Commission to arrange pickup beginning on Dec. 11.

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“The Public Arts Commission heard from many residents about the joy the butterflies brought to the community during a difficult time,” said Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, liaison to the Westfield Public Arts Commission. “We were thrilled that this exhibit provided a safe experience to enjoy art during the pandemic, and we look forward to offering these butterflies to those in the community who wish to purchase them for years of future enjoyment.”

Art Takes Flight showcased the talent and vision of local artists on fiberglass butterflies throughout the downtown area from August through October. These 30 butterflies -- one for each decade of Westfield's 300 years – were set on pedestals or affixed to trees or poles in a variety of locations, with themes ranging from nature, to pop art, to Westfield pride. All of the funds associated with purchasing the butterflies were raised through private donations, without any cost to the Town.

The Westfield Public Arts Commission was established by ordinance in September 2019 at the direction of Mayor Brindle, and is comprised of resident volunteers, as well as Town Council liaison Dawn Mackey and Downtown Westfield Corporation liaison and Executive Director Bob Zuckerman.

Its purpose is to provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to utilizing art in the Town’s public space. In late 2019, local artist and gallery owner Ricardo Roig was commissioned to design and paint the first phase of a mural under the South Avenue overpass as part of the Town's overall revitalization efforts of that business corridor, with the second phase also recently completed.

The mural was fully funded by donations from residents, the Presbyterian Church in Westfield, James Ward, The Westfield Foundation, and an anonymous donor — in addition to grants through the Main Street NJ and Union County HEART programs. For more information, visit www.westfieldnj.gov/publicartscommission.

Westfield 300 is a year-long celebration, comprised of various programs and events, to commemorate the Town’s 300th anniversary in 2020. Westfield 300 is presented by Valley Bank, and is sponsored by: Columbia Bank; Elizabethtown Gas; Embassy Suites and Grain & Cane Bar & Table, Berkeley Heights; PSE&G; Stop & Shop Westfield; and Suplee, Clooney & Company. Westfield 300 is also sponsored, in part, by PNC Bank and Westfield Soccer Association. For more information, visit www.westfieldnj.gov/300.