Manchester Resident Bill Vivrett said he has had a long-time dream of making Manchester a center for the arts. Vivrett, a 75-year-old retired art teacher from , is getting closer to that dream.
Vivrett, with the help of other local artists and Manchester aldermen, has gathered a group of residents to create what will be the city's first art's council.
“I noticed Chesterfield is just doing so much in their community with their fine arts, so I thought that Manchester should be doing something as well,” Vivrett told Town and Country-Manchester Patch. "In a city as diverse as Manchester, we ought to be doing something to promote the arts."
Vivrett said he does not want to be the leader or president of the group, but he is currently taking applications for all the positions that will eventually be needed.
"I have just been so impressed at the background and expertise of the people who have already come to me and said they really do want to be a part of this council from the very beginning," Vivrett said.
Ward 2 Alderman Michael Clement said he heard of Vivrett's idea a couple of years ago at a board of aldermen meeting. However, he said, at that time the Manchester Board of Aldermen was divided and did not think they would be supportive of this idea.
"The board of aldermen now seems to be a positive board that would have an interest in this," Clement said.
Monday night, Clement asked aldermen if any of them were opposed to creating the council and no one said he or she was opposed to the idea.
Clement said he thought this was an exciting opportunity for Manchester to become an arts center in West County.
"We have decided to try to test the waters and see if there are residents who are interested," Clement said. " So far, pretty talented people have expressed their interest. I think they have realized an arts council just adds value to us as a community."
Vivrett said he hopes to work with the city to create public displays of arts, such as sculptures and murals. He said he knows it will take time, but he believes the talent exists in Manchester.
“Maybe this is too idealistic, but what I would like to see is that all the fine arts would really catch on in the community so we have local musicals, cultural performances and other public displays of art,” Vivrett said. “I never kept in close contact with artists in our community, but I am coming to find out through this Manchester arts council formation that they are out there. We only have about 20,000 people living here, but there are an awful lot of real talented artist in this community.”
Clement said a group will meet Oct. 20 to begin discussions on the council. Clement will chair council at the beginning until more residents get on board.
For more information on the arts council, residents may contact Ruth Baker, City Clerk for the City of Manchester at firstname.lastname@example.org or 636-227-1385, ext. 106.
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