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Closing February 29

Wheaton’s only artist-run, nonprofit gallery

They say all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the Wheaton Arts Parade (WAP) Gallery at Westfield Wheaton mall. After five years at three different locations within the shopping center, the WAP gallery will close its doors on February 29. 

In making the announcement, Wheaton Arts Parade founder and longtime Wheaton resident, Dan Thompson said, “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. 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 started following the success of the 2018 Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival when Westfield asked WAP to bring art into one of its empty spaces. Thompson recalled that “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.” 

In recent months, the gallery has been plagued by water leaking from restaurants and restrooms in the Food Court above as well as by rain water intrusion from exterior windows and walls. WAP had worked around these problems for the past two years because it believed having a not-for-profit art gallery in Wheaton outweighed the periodic mopping and maintenance after flooding.

In addition to its diverse exhibits by local artists, the gallery will be remembered for its art-making workshops and holiday pop-ups, its free receptions that featured local musicians and for its window murals that changed with the seasons. (Pictured: Steve Ragsdall Trio)

WAP’s core mission is to support local artists and Gallery Manager Paige Friedeman had this to say to 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.”

Meanwhile, WAP continues its mission to bring the community together with art. The 8th annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival will take place in late September with its street art market, live entertainment and the colorful crocheted designs of the Yarn Bomb. WAP also hopes to bring a grand new mural to downtown Wheaton this spring and there will be free art-making workshops for families at the Wheaton Library starting this Sunday. 

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