The West Concord Junction Cultural District Committee has accomplished its goal of highlighting the culture, history, and resources of West Concord through a wide variety of activities.
An annual signature event of the West Concord Junction Cultural District Committee, Porchfest is a gala celebration of community music held on a Saturday afternoon each September. Audience members are treated to more than two dozen musical acts representing a wide variety of styles. Concerts are held on porches, stoops, front yards, and at the Harvey Wheeler Center, all within walking distance. Local vendors offer snacks, drinks, and more at the Harvey Wheeler Center parking lot.
The event is free and enjoyed by about 2000 residents and visitors each year. It is held in collaboration with Concord Recreation.The first Porchfest was presented in 2019, the second in 2021, and the third in 2022.
Visit the Porchfest for more information.
Another primary focus of the Committee has been a series of five murals to be displayed outside throughout West Concord.
The first in the series was unveiled in May of 2019, on the side of Reasons to be Cheerful at 110 Commonwealth Ave. With a theme of bluegrass music, Art Scramble 1: Music in the Village is 6 by 12 feet and features members of the West Concord community. Over 150 people painted the 288 squares that make up the mural at the Art for All (formerly the Village Art Room) studio. Please visit the Music in the Village mural page of the Art for All website for more information.
The second in the series Art Scramble 2: Our Local Farms was unveiled in May of 2021 on the side of Saltbox Kitchen, a Farm-to-Table restaurant in West Concord at the corner of Beharrell Street and Commonwealth Ave. The imagery ranges from farmers of the native Algonquin tribes to farms currently operating. It is a gesture of gratitude to the many farmers who have tended the land and fed us generation after generation.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge to painting the mural, as it was intended to be made in community by the community. In March of 2020, the staff and volunteers of Art for All made and delivered to people’s homes the supplies needed to paint the individual tiles. When the weather improved, they gathered people together outside to paint the remaining tiles. 127 people in and around West Concord painted the 299 six inch tiles that make up the 5.5 by 11.5 foot mural.
To find out more about this mural, please visit the Our Local Farms page of the Art for All website.
The third mural, Concord Junction in the Industrial Age, celebrates West Concord’s industrial history as a vibrant, multicultural, entrepreneurial factory and mill town in the decades before and after 1900. The 24” x 8” mural was designed by Edward Feather and painted by Edward and a team of community artists.
“This mural depicts “The Junction” or “Concord Junction” or “West Concord” around 1900. While there are elements in the painting that date from earlier and later periods, the goal was to create a sort of collage of the industrial spaces, transportation, housing, shopping and activities that helped West Concord grow as a town more than a century ago. With the crossing of four train lines at The Junction, more than 125 trains passed through the town daily, allowing businesses to manufacture and easily transport goods to other parts of the region and around the country. This highly active community played a robust part in the development of the area both for business and as a place to live.
“We use large windows cut out from sides of buildings to look inside factories and experience manufacturing taking place. Inside and out, people of the town are shown working, playing, shopping, traveling, and socializing. Designing this mural was exciting and a wonderful learning experience as we dug into the history of the area. I am so happy to have been able to design this beautiful historic piece and to have such a wonderful and dedicated team to work with to bring it to life.” – Edward Feather
Other components of the project include an exhibit of reproductions of historic photos shown at the Fowler Library and Harvey Wheeler Community Center, a showing of a documentary made by the students of Susan Erickson’s fifth grade Thoreau School class of 2000 at the Fowler Library, and a brochure of a self-guided tour of sites important in West Concord’s industrial history.
The West Concord Junction Cultural District Committee also hosts activities and participates in many Community Celebrations like Discover West Concord Day, Spring Into West Concord Day, and Art Week. Among their contributions have been:
- Open Studios;
- Musical Concerts;
- A series of bluegrass-themed events including a concert, free art-making parties, a literature display at the Fowler Library, a bluegrass-themed ice cream flavor at Reasons to Be Cheerful and a bluegrass-themed drink at Salt Box Kitchen, and a community bluegrass concert;
- Serving hot chocolate to passersby and hiring a Santa to hand out candy to support businesses;
- A series of tributes to our local West Concord 5 & 10 when it closed after 85 years, including a car parade, a postcard tribute, and helping Minuteman Media create a 30-minute video tribute to the store and its proprietor, Maynard Forbes;
- A history-themed Scavenger Hunt.