Chrissy Shelley was recently named president of the Greater Westbury Council for the Arts (GWCA), taking over for Rocco Lanzilotta who resigned to take a new job out of state.
“I’m so thrilled to have been elected president,” Shelley said. “It is a privilege to work with such a talented group of dedicated volunteers at the GWCA.”
Prior to being named president of the council, Shelley served as co-recording secretary and a member of the publicity and marketing committee. The Westbury resident says she joined the arts council because she enjoys meeting people and loved the idea of having an arts community. She’s passionate about artists getting together to share ideas and encourage each other.
“You often don’t get your push to do your creative thing on the side,” said Shelley. “If you have an art community behind you, or a couple of people to throw ideas off of, it’s a push for you to be your best creative self. It’s a healthy peer pressure.”
Though the council is still very new, they’ve already held several events and have had a major presence in the community. They recently gained not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) status, which will allow them to build up their budget through dues and donations. Shelley says the council is now launching full force into building up the program.
“I would love to see our meetings become times when artists could come in and share what they do with our council members. It could be an artist demonstrating a particular technique, a guest lecturer from the philharmonic, or someone performing a monologue,” Shelley said. “I have high hopes for programming for our meetings so they become really interesting and exciting for our members. So it’s something they look forward to in their week. Like their art vacation.”
In the future, Shelley and the council are hoping to expand programming at the piazza and do more pop-ups and art exhibitions. They are also currently accepting memberships and Shelley says the organization hopes to become a great resource for local artists—from Westbury and beyond.
“We would like to establish a roster of talent so we can refer artists when people ask to recommend an illustrator or group to play at an event. We have a lot of creative people in the area and feel we can be a resource for artists to get together and other people looking for talent,” Shelley says. “The community aspect is important. We give each other advice and share the tools of the trade.”