January 12, 2022

Council Hears Report On Cultural Celebration In Place of Communiversity

By Anne Levin

An alternative to Communiversity was presented to Princeton Council at its January 10 meeting by Adam Welch, executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton. The annual downtown street fair, a collaboration of the Arts Council and Princeton University, was canceled the last two years due to the pandemic.

Rather than let another year go by without the event, ArtsApril, a month-long cultural celebration spread out over several days in multiple locations, is being proposed.

“This is an opportunity to embrace the creativity of our talented and local community,” Welch said. “This is a decentralized event we can have in town for the entire month of April.”

As Welch detailed in his presentation, the April arts celebration would culminate with Princeton Porchfest, a free, family-friendly event featuring musicians performing on porches throughout the town on Sunday, April 24, the day that Communiversity might have been held.

“Attendees are invited to stroll from porch to porch and relax on front lawns and sidewalks as they enjoy live, local talent,” reads material that was in Council’s agenda packet. “A Porchfest guide will be available on the website, complete with scheduled performances and pop-up installations to explore along the route.”

The Porchfest movement started in Ithaca, N.Y., in 2007, and has spread to numerous communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Among ArtsApril’s proposed public art installations is the Princeton Piano Project, in which 10 upright pianos will be reimagined by local artists and placed around town for anyone to play. Actual performances will be scheduled on select weekends. Tentatively scheduled art exhibitions would be at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art on Hulfish and Art@Bainbridge, Morven Museum and Garden, and Princeton Truckfest.

The existing mural on Spring Street will be painted on a rotating basis, and chalk drawings will be on streets, Welch added.

Kristin Appelget, Princeton University’s director of community and regional affairs, said the goal of ArtsApril “was to not miss another year of University and Arts Council partnership. We are so excited to be able to support the Arts Council

in this initiative. It’s going to take a lot of support. We need some volunteers as well as musicians and artists.”

The meeting was the governing body’s first since last week’s annual reorganization meeting, during which new Councilmember Leighton Newlin and incumbent Eve Niedergang were sworn in by outgoing Councilmember Dwaine Williamson, and Leticia Fraga was appointed to a second term as Council president.

Council honored Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) with an award of recognition. Accepting the award, FOPOS President Wendy Mager told Council that work is progressing on a 25-acre riparian zone project along the banks of the stream and lake at Mountain Lakes. With $15,000 raised and a proposal for another $10,000, as well as outstanding grant requests, the project “will make Mountain Lakes more wonderful,” she said.

Ordinances were introduced disbanding the Site Plan Review Advisory Board, and establishing permit parking in the Westminster Choir College parking yard. Both ordinances will receive public hearings at the Council meeting on January 24.

Council was to meet again Tuesday night (after press time) for a special work session on the permit parking issue.