The art world in Bristol has been blossoming as of late with the new addition of the Byfield Art and Design Group, or BADG. The group began when artist Virginia Delgado got permission from the town to lease space in the previously vacant Byfield School for her photography studio. Little by little, through friends and word of mouth, other artists began getting short-term leases in the building as well. BADG member and artist Bradley Wester discusses the importance of having permanent artists and studios in a neighborhood. Typically, artists tend to be nomadic and going where the rent is affordable. So when the town required a request for proposal for longer leases the artists residing in the Byfield School decided to come together as a group. “What we decided to discuss in our RFP was the importance of keeping artists in the community. If our rents are reasonable and we’re not threatened to be displaced, we’ll be able to give back,” says Bradley. “We participate in open studio nights and I’ve already even run some classes inside my studio. We want to feel secure so that we can become involved members of our community. We’re thrilled that the Town Council kept us there.” Textile designer and BADG member Dawn Oliveira adds, “We can have open houses, be a part of Art Night and give back to other art non-profits in the area, like the Bristol Theater Company and Community String.”
Now an official group dedicated to creating art and giving back to the Bristol community, BADG houses professional artists of all kinds, including designers, photographers, painters, writers, performers and sculptors. Swing by to check out the artists and be on the lookout for future events. 220 High Street/Byfield Building, Bristol. 401-396-9194.