You know The Addams Family, but what do you know about the man behind the work? During the upcoming AddamsFest, the second annual celebration of its native son, the Town of Westfield will host a variety of lectures, workshops, tours and a special art exhibit — all to bring to light the many fascinating aspects of Charles Addams.

Chas Addams & Friends: An Exhibit of Original Charles Addams & Westfield Student Art

Oct. 15 - 23 (for detailed hours, visit the AddamsFest website)

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The James Ward Mansion
169 East Broad St.

Addams had a knack for turning the mundane into the macabre. The Westfield native’s work brims with unexpected takes on everyday relationships, whether they be characters as extraordinary as The Addams Family or as ordinary as an unhappily married couple.

AddamsFest is proud to showcase original Charles Addams masterpieces, never before seen in Westfield, along with treasured reproductions, in a boutique exhibit generously on loan from the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation.

The exhibit will also feature the return of “Dudley,” back by popular demand. This life-sized Addams original was drawn during his Westfield childhood, and was emancipated in 2018 after spending almost a hundred years on the second floor of a barn on East Dudley Avenue.

Local student art will also be on display alongside the work of Addams. Known as “Chil” to his childhood friends, Addams’ love of art began as a student in the Westfield school district — so it’s only fitting that his art will be accompanied by finalists from the Charles Addams Cartoon Contest, open to all Westfield area middle and high school-aged students.

Tickets for the exhibit are now available on the AddamsFest website, and on-site (cash only) during exhibit hours at the James Ward Mansion. The suggested donation is $5-$10, and a portion will go towards the Charles Addams Fund, which provides scholarships to Westfield High School seniors pursuing a career in the arts. Weekday group tours are available by appointment only, 9 a.m. –  2 p.m., by contacting addamsfest@gmail.com.

Lurch's Lecture Series

Chas Addams was as interesting a character as any that appeared in his cartoons. AddamsFest will provide attendees with the chance to get to know the man behind the drawings, what inspired him, how he lived as a boy growing up in Westfield, and dig deeper into the hidden messages behind his work. Events include:

Apart from the Art: Charles Addams’ Life Away from the Drawing Board

Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
Westfield Memorial Library, 550 East Broad Street

Today, Charles Addams is known as a world-renowned cartoonist, and creator of The Addams Family. But back in the day, Addams himself was the toast of the town. Always on top of the A-List, he rubbed elbows with New York's high society (with women such as Joan Fontaine, Greta Garbo and Jacqueline Kennedy on his arm). Join biographer Linda H. Davis for a peek into a life that was even more fascinating than the kooky comic characters for which Addams is best known.

Tickets are free, although advance reservations are highly recommended and available on the Westfield Memorial Library website.

The Chas Addams Workshop by New Yorker Cartoonist Felipe Galindo Saturday, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Westfield Memorial Library, 550 East Broad Street

Get a master class in cartooning while honing your artistic skills with New Yorker Cartoonist Felipe Galindo. Learn about the different types of humorous art — cartoons, gags, comics, illustrations, animations, political and more. And then create your own cartoons following step -by-step instructions. Participants are welcome to bring samples of their drawings for feedback.

Tickets are free, although advance reservations are highly recommended and available on the Westfield Memorial Library website.

The Life of Charles Addams, by Addams Enthusiast Ron MacCloskey

Saturday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m.
Westfield Memorial Library, 550 East Broad Street

A lifetime fan of Addams, Ron MacCloskey has spent his life bringing the world of Charles Addams to light, including getting the Westfield childhood home of Addams declared a historic landmark and founding the Westfield Foundation’s Charles Addams Scholarship, which supports students majoring in art. During the lecture, MacCloskey will discuss the life of Charles Addams, including how an assortment of New Yorker cartoon characters evolved into the Addams Family empire.

Tickets are free, although advance reservations are highly recommended and available on the Westfield Memorial Library website.

The Charles Addams Walking Tour

Hosted by the Westfield Historical Society
Sunday, Oct. 20 & 27, 3 - 5 p.m. (rain or shine)

Tour begins at the corner of Lawrence and Dudley Avenues

Join local architect Greg Blasi on a walking tour past Charles Addams’ home, his favorite haunts, and the house said to have inspired his Addams Family creations. Tickets are $5 for Westfield Historical Society members and $10 for non-members. Advance reservations and payment are required on the Westfield Historical Society website.

Paranormal Investigations at the Reeve House

Hosted by the Westfield Historical Society

Saturday, Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
314 Mountain Avenue

Are there ghosts in Westfield? The 1872 Historic Reeve House was occupied for more than 100 years before the Reeve brothers gave the house to the Town of Westfield with the intention for it to become the Westfield Historical Society's home and museum. Many of the former inhabitants are known to have passed away inside the Reeve House. Are any of their spirits still residing there?

New Jersey Paranormal researches and investigates the existence of energy and spirits in the hereafter. Learn about their recent paranormal study of the Reeve House and then tour the home with their experts to experience a real ghost hunt.

Tickets are $5 for Westfield Historical Society members and $10 for non-members. Advance reservations and payment are required on the Westfield Historical Society website. Guests must be 14 and older to participate.

For a full schedule of AddamsFest events, complete details, and ticketing information, please visit www.addamsfest.com.

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