Westbury Arts Awarded Vision Long Island’s Smart Growth Award for Creating a Sense of Place

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The Greater Westbury Council for the Arts was awarded Vision Long Island’s Smart Growth Award for creating a Sense of Place. “When you talk about the spontaneous energy, its fun to think that we don’t have any physical location, but what we do have is a lot of very dedicated board members who create that sense of place,” said Chrissy Lorusso Shelley, Westbury Arts Board Treasurer. Tom Sobczak, Jr., Westbury Arts Vice President, added “I just want to thank Mayor Cavallaro, the Village board and the superlative Village staff who, with their support and guidance, have made us grow as quickly and innovatively as we are today.”

Mayor Peter Cavallaro and Westbury Arts President Julie Lyon speak in this video about the continuing mission of Westbury Arts and it’s role in the Westbury community.


A message from our Treasurer Chrissy Lorusso Shelley:

I had the privilege of attending the Vision Long Island Awards Luncheon where the Arts Council was honored with a Smart Growth Award in the category of Creating a Sense of Place. Along with me were fellow Westbury Arts Council Board member Thom Sobczak, Deputy Mayor Joan Boes, Trustee Bill Wise, Village Clerk Ted Blach, and Gail Slotnick from Village Hall. There were about 900 guests at this event, and super sized dais was packed with what only could be described as a who’s who of prominent people of Long Island government and business.

I want to share my appreciation and pride for the Westbury Arts Council and the Village of Westbury, and also thank the Vision Long Island board for validating all the hard work that the council has done so far. This award emboldens us to work harder, to create even more opportunities to promote the arts in our community. We would never be here without the leadership and support of our hardworking mayor, Peter Cavallaro, who has championed this organization from the start. Finally, I want to thank our current president, Julie Lyon for taking over the reins of leadership and bringing us into new and exciting directions.

My husband and I moved to Westbury about 7 years ago. We heard that the theater was slated to undergo a kind of restoration, and that was an exciting prospect. I never imagined all that would transpire as Mayor Cavallaro initiated the idea for the arts council, and that it could be an organization that I could help foster and grow.

I have found in the Arts Council a sense of purpose and pride. I have this amazing assortment of friends and neighbors from all walks of life— people that I may have never had a chance to interact with— and here we are planning concerts and pop up gallery exhibitions together. We work together, hash out ideas, fundraise, promote, support and show up for each other. Indeed, we have promoted a sense of community and certainly created a sense of place through our work on the arts council. Speaking personally, I am invested and dedicated to this organization and to really seeing Westbury become even greater. Again, I am so thankful to Vision Long Island for recognizing us with this award.