Art on the Alley is a biannual event in downtown New Philadelphia celebrating the arts, local businesses, and the community. This year, it will take place on Sunday, May 2, 2021 and Sunday, October 17, 2021.We asked Wilma K. Mullet, Executive Director of the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership (TAP) to give us the scoop on this awesome community event.
About Art on the Alley
When Art on the Alley began May 2018 in the alleys of Ashwood Lane and 1st Drive NW, it started as a small arts festival with a goal to embrace the identity and culture of Tuscarawas County’s arts, local businesses and community. The environment was full of artists with their creations, music from local bands, and people flocking the alleys to support and participate in the activities. Art on the Alley became an overnight sensation with high attendance from the community and positive feedback from its vendors – so much so that the wave of positivity asked for a second Art on the Alley festival the same year.
Now entering its fourth consecutive year Art on the Alley became a growing, lively arts festival in Downtown New Philadelphia that continues to populate Ashwood Lane and 1st Drive. Held the first Sunday of May and third Sunday of October, Art on the Alley has seen an abundance of community support that frequents the local businesses and artists at the festival. Over the past four years, the committee has expanded from 7 members to 12 members, increased the festival footprint down 1st Drive, and grew in vendor capacity from 30 vendors to 65 vendors.
How Did Art on the Alley Survive the Pandemic?
Operating an arts festival in the midst of a pandemic had its challenges as Art on the Alley projected toward growth. Thinking about the safety of its vendors and the community, Art on the Alley’s committee made the decision to cancel May 2020’s festival, but worked diligently to plan October 2020’s event. Under the guidance of the local health department, Art on the Alley managed to operate with a safety capacity limit and social distance guidelines. With the presence of Art on the Alley once more, the community supported its downtown businesses and local artists and vendors that attended.
Art on the Alley 2021 Plans
Just like its previous years, audiences can expect live demonstrations from local artists such as Dee Grossman working on the pottery wheel and Jean Frantz creating pastel drawings; arts activities and exhibitions provided by nonprofit vendors such as the Tuscarawas County Public Library, Fort Laurens and Historic Zoar Village, and ARTS NCT; live music performances at the North Stage, South Stage and in Alley Cats Marketplace; and food vendors such as Three Lil Piggies BBQ, Biscotti by the Bunch and Cheezylicious Food Truck.
As Art on the Alley continues to navigate through the pandemic, the committee maintains its ability to make accommodations to follow guidelines, and give local artists and businesses a platform to celebrate the identity and culture of Tuscarawas County. Despite the setback of the pandemic, Art on the Alley continues to grow and thrive to be a destination and environment of creative work and culture that will make a positive impact in the community.
More information about Art on the Alley can be found on Tuscarawas Arts Partnership’s (TAP) website here.
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Wilma K. Mullet
Wilma K. Mullet received her B.A. in Art and Religious Studies and completed a minor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Mount Union, and a Master’s degree in Arts Administration from the University of Akron.
While Wilma was getting her art degree at Mount Union, she realized she wanted to be more involved in the arts, and decided to take an internship to collaborate and organize the first arts festival in Downtown Alliance. While facilitating the festival, Wilma observed how visibility of the arts positively impacted the downtown community. It was the defining moment when she knew she wanted to work behind the scenes to help the arts thrive and promote community revitalization. While attending the University of Akron’s Arts Administration program, Wilma participated in the Art Bomb Brigade where the class’s goal was to create amazing public art throughout neighborhoods across Akron that can inspire creative and invigorating “placemaking” throughout Akron, Ohio. In addition, she completed a thesis study on public art as an economic development tool in revitalization efforts of Youngstown, Ohio and the Mahoning Valley communities.
Today, as the Executive Director of TAP, Wilma hopes that her studies and experiences will help promote and advance the arts further in Tuscarawas County.