Saying Farewell: Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery to Close Its Doors on Feb. 29

The Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery, a cherished presence at Westfield Wheaton Mall for five years across three different locations at the shopping center, is getting ready to say goodbye on February 29th.

The mall management has opted not to renew the gallery’s lease, prompting the bittersweet farewell.

In making the announcement, Dan Thompson, the founder of the Wheaton Arts Parade (WAP) and a long-term Wheaton resident, expressed gratitude for the continuous support provided by Westfield over the years.

“We appreciate the support Westfield has given WAP since 2017 – its financial contribution to the annual parade, the space it provided for the community to make art, and the storefront for Wheaton’s only artist-run nonprofit gallery,” Thompson said. “WAP also appreciates the support the gallery received from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. But our greatest thanks go to the artists and the Wheaton community who patronized the gallery and showed how much Wheaton values art.”

The gallery came into being following the success of the 2018 Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival. After Westfield approached WAP to bring art into one of its vacant spaces, Thompson remembered that WAP eagerly stepped in to help Westfield by replacing the brown paper on its windows with art. “WAP was eager to help Westfield replace the brown paper on its windows with art and to give 90% of all sales proceeds to the artists,” Thompson said.

Recently, the gallery has faced challenges with water leaks originating from restaurants and restrooms in the Food Court above, as well as rainwater seeping in from exterior windows and walls. Despite these issues, WAP persevered for two years, prioritizing the presence of a nonprofit art gallery in Wheaton over the occasional cleanup following flooding incidents.

Aside from its varied displays showcasing local artists, the gallery has left a lasting impression through its art workshops, seasonal pop-up events, lively receptions featuring local musicians, and ever-changing window murals reflecting the shift in seasons.

WAP’s primary goal is to assist local artists, and Gallery Manager Paige Friedeman shared the following message with them:

“We thank each and every artist for giving their time and creativity over the years. Thanks to them, the WAP Gallery grew to become a second artistic home for so many in the community – a place to share and support each other’s artistic aspirations. We especially appreciate the artists who volunteered their time to help to keep the gallery open.”

MyMCM reports that the gallery is currently in search of a new location. Meanwhile, WAP is steadfast in its mission to unite the community through art. The 8th annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival is scheduled for late September, featuring a street art market, live entertainment, and the vibrant crocheted creations of the Yarn Bomb.

Additionally, WAP aims to unveil a striking new mural in downtown Wheaton this spring, alongside free art-making workshops for families at the Wheaton Library beginning this weekend.

Wheaton Arts Parade Graphic

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