WESTFIELD, NJ — People walking around Downtown Westfield are taking notice of large fiberglass butterflies installed in recent days — part of a public art project celebrating the town’s 300th anniversary.

The project spearheaded by the town’s recently formed Public Arts Commission features 30 butterflies, each painted by a different artist, throughout the downtown.

“As you’re going about your business in Westfield, they surprise you,” said Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, council representative to the arts commission. “And that was the intention for them to feel natural and organic.”

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“I genuinely am blown away by the talent,” Mackey added.

The Public Arts Commission chose from 75 submissions with the final exhibits representing a range of themes from nature, to pop art and Westfield Pride, officials said. Each butterfly was sponsored by private donors.

“This exhibit is a wonderful realization of a vision brought to life by our Public Arts Commission and many local talented artists,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle in a release. “What an impactful way to showcase the benefits of public art for the community, especially as we continue to celebrate Westfield 300 this year.”

Art Stroll

The public is invited to enjoy the art and hear from many of the artists during a “Public Arts Stroll” to be held Saturday, Aug. 8, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Participating artists will be stationed at their butterflies to discuss their work and answer any questions, officials said. Face coverings and proper social distancing practices are required to participate.

The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 9, although the butterflies remain available for viewing.

This fall, at the conclusion of the exhibit, some butterflies will be auctioned off to fund future public art installations, and some will be permanently installed in Westfield’s parks, officials said.

Click here to view a map of showing all 30 of the butterflies’ locations throughout the town.