By Alex Ajade
Are you an artist looking for more options in Fitchburg to express yourself? Well, look no further, the Fitchburg Artistree on 480 Main St. provides an opportunity for your outlet.
Founded on October 10, 2011 by a group of past and present students of the University, Aristree’s mission is “to make a vibrant mainstream” as stated by one of the vigorous founders, Jeff Anderson. Anderson explains that the Fitchburg Artistree is an artful venue that creates “an opportunity for [graduates and non-graduates] to practice their creative economic based jobs.”
The Artistree is an expansive building with a check-in front desk, comfortable furnishings, and a stage with lighting, all within a colorful setting. The venue also has many art exhibitions next to booths to set the atmosphere for the building.
One attendee, a singer named Danielle Rochelle Gibbs, who frequents the open mic nights, describes it as, “Pretty cool. [It’s] a bunch of people who come together to enjoy art and music. It’s freedom of expression.” Gibbs is 24, and a graduate of business management at Fitchburg State as well as a certified audio production engineer from Boston University.
Gibbs met Anderson at a performance event in the previous year at the school and learned about the Artistree. She aspires to release albums of gospel one day and just like many of the performers has big dreams.
The Artistree attendance rates continue to grow, though the number fluctuates from time to time. They host such events as open mic nights and concerts and allow people to book events in advance; they’ve received special guests such as Kid Mountain and other bands and artists such as Background Orcs, Red Panda, and Super Stoker.
Anderson views the Artistree as a branch, “a seed with a sprout,” whose purpose is to reach out, especially to students at the University, and bring them down to Main Street. A few of the creative ways they chose to do so as another co-founder, Casey Taylor, mentions, is to hold art events outside the Artistree such as a showcasing of murals they had a few artists paint during a fair at Gateway Park last summer.
Events such as these are created purely from the Artistree’s drive to reach out. There aren’t any outside sources that fund these projects and the income from there events are all used just to keep the building running.
The founders themselves have other occupations to support themselves, so the effort put into the foundation is purely coming from past and present students who want to add to the culture of Fitchburg as well as create a sanctuary for artists.