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For some, stars are a unifying symbol of hope, reminding us that we are part of a world that is much bigger than our own little community.  For others, stars are symbols of divine guidance or love from those who have passed on before us.  A shooting star is thought to represent the rise of the human spirit.  Ultimately, all these luminous points in the sky represent positive forces in life and provide natural beauty and pure joy, lifting our spirits. 

The Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce has installed some of its illuminated sculptures in downtown once again! is producing its most ambitious project ever.  We aim to create a temporary, 2 state, magical holiday art installation making downtown Westerly-Pawcatuck merry and bright this holiday season. A visit to the Starry Lights installation will be free and awe inspiring.  The innovative exhibition will include large-scale art installations created by CT and RI artists. 

Displays in Westerly Rhode Island

  • 17 Foot tall archway tunnel of stars at the esplanade entrance to the park that extends 40 feet and is located at the Westerly Library Esplanade.

Westerly Train Station, Westerly, RI

  • 13 foot tall double archway star and bench with a romantic star canopy over it.

Displays in Veterans Park, Westerly, RI

  • 12 foot tall star with white and blue lights in honor of Westerly High School Bulldogs.

 

Displays in Donahue Park, Pawcatuck, CT

  • a 20 foot Starry Lights Tree with lit stars.

  • 13 foot holiday ornament 

  • several crocheted stars in the trees

Displays in Veterans Park, Pawcatuck, CT

  • 9 foot tall illuminated Star Bridge created by D. Derek.

  • 10 foot metal star decorated by Mystic Knotwork

Display at Hoof's Restaurant, Pawcatuck, CT

  • 7 foot tall star chair perfect for a photo opportunity with shooting stars in the background

 

High Street, Canal Street & High Street, Westerly 

40 handcrafted wooden stars 2-4 feet displayed throughout the business district.

 

Make Your Visit Memorable  

Starry Lights will provide numerous locations for the perfect selfie spot, will make a terrific backdrop for family holiday cards, and will be a great excuse to come and explore beautiful downtown Westerly, RI-Pawcatuck, CT.  Before or after your visit, we encourage you to support the eclectic shops and outstanding restaurants in this historic, hip and happening 2 state downtown.  Many other great restaurants are outside downtown and provide ease for parking. visit oceanchamber.org

The lights will go on around 4:30pm each night and turn off around 9:30pm.

Please consider making a donation today to support Starry Lights, a special project of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, 1 Chamber Way, Westerly RI 02891.  

ABOUT

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EXHIBITS

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Star Chair by Nico DiMaggio, Westerly, RI

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Macramé Star, Westerly, RI and Hand knotted by Jill Beaudoin of Mystic Knotwork

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Star Bridge crafted by D Derek, Stonington Borough, CT

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Artist: Nico DiMaggio, Westerly RI

Title: Star Chair

Description: Transforming his back yard into an outdoor workshop, this highly skilled, retired maintenance mechanic (also known as The Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce handy-man extraordinaire and Maria DiMaggio’s dad) welded pieces together to take the shape of a 3 dimensional star.  He then added a seat in the center so that it would be a comfortable resting place.  Warm white lights and metallic balls were affixed to give it a contemporary and festive vibe.

Location: Next to Hoof's Restaurant in Pawcatuck, CT 

Artist: Jill Beaudoin of Mystic Knotwork, Mystic CT

Title: Macrame Star

Description: At a whopping 10 feet tall this is the largest of all the fiber covered stars on display at Starry Lights. This beauty has over 2,000 feet of rope and a life ring recovered from the Mystic River. Metal welding by Nico DiMaggio. MysticKnotwork.com

Location: Veteran’s Park, Pawcatuck CT

Sponsored by: Mystic Knotwork

Artist: D Derek, Stonington CT

Title:  Star Bridge

Description: 9 feet tall and 13 feet wide.  The inside height is 7 ½ feet.  Adorned with crystals

D. Derek chose this concept because of it’s proximity to the Pawcatuck River Bridge and state border.  The metaphor is that bridges bring people and communities together.

Location: Veteran’s Park, Pawcatuck CT

Sponsored by: Town of Stonington and Valenti Family of Auto Dealerships

Star Swags created by Christopher Owens, Chester, CT

Artist: Christopher Owens, Chester CT

Title: Star Swags

Description:  The 2 state downtown is joined together by beautiful stars dancing over the Pawcatuck River.  Chestercottagect.com

Location: Wilcox Park, Westerly RI

Sponsored by : Bella Vita, Dime Bank, ISO Pur, Malted Barley, Perks & Corks, Westerly Community Credit Union, Joanna Valentini

Twinkle Tree created by Nico DiMaggio, Westerly, RI

Artist: Nico DiMaggio, Westerly RI

Title: Twinkle Tree

Description: Every town park deserves a beautiful tree at the holidays.  Thanks to Nico DiMaggio for making this custom metal tree which is a whopping 16 feet tall!  Covered entirely in crystal-like star lights, it is topped with a hand forged metal star.  Nico completed every aspect of this tree on his own, right down to the tinsel selection and application of lights.

Location: Donahue Park, Pawcatuck CT

Sponsored by: Shoreline Painting and SNS Electric

Star Canopy created by Nico DiMaggio, Westerly, RI

Artist: Nico DiMaggio, Westerly RI

Title: Star Canopy

Description:  Looking for the best seat in the house?  Sit under this giant, hand crafted wooden star canopy and gaze out over the pond at Star Island.  This 8 foot star provides a romantic place to reflect and enjoy the tranquility of the park.

Location:  Westerly Train Station, Westerly RI

Star Archway Entry created by Thavenet Machine Co., Pawcatuck, CT

Artist:  Thavenet Machine Shop, Pawcatuck CT

Title: Star Archway Entry

Description: 15 feet high, 17 feet wide and 40 feet long, this metal sculpture was hand crafted by Eric Thavenet and his team at Thavenet Machine Shop in Pawcatuck CT. Has a cool “solar system“ hanging feature that was suggested by his children.  The entire family helped collaborate and string lights.

Location:  Westerly Library Esplanade, Westerly RI

Sponsored by:  Town of Westerly & Thavenet Machine Co.

Giant Star Ornament 

Title:  Giant Star Ornament

Description:  14 feet high.  

Location:  Donahue Park, Pawcatuck, CT 

Double Arch

Title: Double Arch

Description: 14 feet high

Location: Westerly Train Station,  Westerly RI

Sponsored by: Maria's Seaside Cafe & Breezeway Resort

There is a Kaleidoscope of 4 foot and 6 foot stars made of varying materials.  The following list outlines the stars in this series:

Artist: Christina Adair, Pawcatuck CT

Description:  4 foot star of macramé (metal base)

Location:  Donahue Park, Pawcatuck CT

Artist: Pamela Husereau, Westerly, RI

Description:  4 foot star of yarn (metal base)

Location:  Donahue Park, Pawcatuck CT

Artist: Paula Brouillette, Westerly, RI

Title: Old becomes New - the old craft of crochet used in new and exciting ways.

Description:  4 foot star of yarn (metal base)

Location:  Donahue Park, Pawcatuck CT

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Double Layer Star

Title:   6 foot double layer Star

Description:  Super bright star with two layers of warm white lights

Location:  Westerly Train Station, Westerly RI

Artist: Arlene Morrison, Old Lyme CT

Title: Bohemian WRAPsody

Description:  4 foot star of yarn (metal base)

Location:  Donahue Park, Pawcatuck CT

Artist: Linda Lavallee Mossberg

Title: Medley

Description: 5 foot star of yarn and over 200 translucent beads  (metal base).

Location: Donahue Park, Pawcatuck CT

Artist: Judy Trotta, Narragansett RI

Title: Angel

Description: 4 foot star of yarn  (metal base)

Location:  storefront window 25 High Street, Westerly RI

Artist: Alana Almonte of Anchored Soul Art, Cranston, RI

Title: Bohemian Star

Description: Wooden orb beads, macramé and love create this beauty. Anchoredinco.com

Location: storefront window of Christina’s Ltd. 1 Canal Street, Westerly

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GOALS

● Promote tourism and increase visitation to the Towns of Stonington, CT and Westerly, RI, by creating a unique attraction. 

● Create a safe outdoor activity that is enjoyable to all ages.

● Promote the talents of participating artists from the 2-state region who are creating stars for display  and provide a collaborative project for them to blend their unique styles.  

● Enhance the holiday season by making spirits bright with this joyful presentation.

● Encourage physical activity by creating an attractive environment that gets visitors to walk around the downtown.

● Strengthen awareness of the distinctive character  and unique attractions in our 2-state downtown community

● Contribute to Connecticut’s and Rhode Island’s cultural assets as a unique art installation that becomes a landmark attraction.

● Promote collaboration between the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce and artists, local contractors, the Westerly Library, and the Artist Cooperative Gallery of Westerly..

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FAQs

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Where did the idea come from?

In the charming village of Chester CT, artist Christopher Owens has created a magical display of lit stars on downtown buildings and homes for the last 3 years. Lisa Konicki, President of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, saw the display on social media in 2021 and  then visited the town in December 2022.  Impressed by the beauty and simplicity of the exhibit, she took lots of pictures and her wheels started turning.  Lisa began romancing the idea of bringing Starry Lights to our downtown parks. Lit stars on buildings are not enough though.  She is including talented artists and large scale installations to make it a community effort.  She had every intention of reaching out to Christopher Owens (aka "Star Man") to tell him that he had inspired her to do something locally when, coincidentally, the stars aligned and Christopher contacted her!  He had seen all of the press for the Chamber’s Stonington Lobster Trap Tree and messaged her a note of congratulations.  While they were “friends” on Facebook for a few years they had never met.  That weekend, Lisa drove to Chester, toured his studio and outlined what she had in mind.   The next week Christopher came to Westerly-Pawcatuck and took a tour of our proposed event area.  The brainstorming and collaboration has continued ever since. In 2022 the OCCC presented a major display. In 2023 a smaller version is being presented and spread out more in downtown.

Is this a fundraiser?

No.  Starry Lights is not a fundraiser.  In fact, The Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce will incur significant up-front costs to create this magical installation. There will be costs for constructing the installations, lights, electricity, event permits and insurance.  There are costs associated with the creation of this new website and the insurance policy to protect the organization against liability.  There will be costs for event programs, marketing, labor to set up and break down the display and more. 

Will this be an annual event?

We are not making any promises but we are also not ruling anything out.  The cost to present this exhibit and the labor required for set up makes this a very challenging undertaking for our small non-profit organization.  In 2022 the OCCC lost several thousand dollars producing this exhibit. We cannot commit to an annual exhibit but will do our best. 

How can I get involved as a volunteer or sponsor?

Volunteers are needed to help hang lights and set-up the installation which begins in late November.  We will also need volunteers tp help us dismantle the displays January 30th, 2024.

Contact Lisa Konicki via

Email: Lkonicki@oceanchamber.org

Phone: 401-596-7761

How do I donate to support the project and is it tax deductible?

Send your check payable to OCCC, 1 Chamber Way, Westerly, RI 02891.

Corporate sponsorships payable to the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce are considered a marketing investment and are therefore considered an ordinary business expense.  They are not a charitable donation.  

How would I get to have a star in the memorial display or in one of the parks? 

If you are a member of the local community, or a local business who would like to have a star representing your company or loved one, sponsor the event.

Would dogs be allowed at Starry Lights?  

Yes, if they are on a leash at all times. Please clean up after your pet and always keep a safe distance from other dogs and from people, as not everyone is comfortable with animals.  

About the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce

The mission of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce is to serve the interests of member businesses and enhance their success while providing community leadership to ensure balanced economic advancement and a high quality of life. We champion our communities' economic and cultural vitality through advocacy, education and networking.  The word “community” is in our name for a reason and refers to the two state region we serve.  We value the arts as a vital part of the local economy and recognize the enriching affect they have on the lives of local residents.  This project, like many others we produce, brings together residents, businesses and the arts community for a shared benefit.  The OCCC also produces the Virtu Art Festival each summer in Wilcox Park, the Fusion bodypainting event at the Velvet Mill in Stonington and the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree.  We produce the annual River Glow event in downtown, on the Pawcatuck River, each August.  To learn more about all our events and activities visit oceanchamber.org 

 

About the Ocean Community Chamber Foundation

The OCCF is the charitable arm of the OCCC and is accepting donations to underwrite star making workshops for local children.  The OCCF also produces educational heirloom publications that raise money for local charities including the Pop Up Book of Stonington and the Pop Up Book of Westerly.  We produce the annual Pawcatuck River Duck Race in April which raises funds for over 50 local schools and charities.  We also produce the ATHENA leadership award program and provide thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to local youth each year.

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