Despite a cool and drizzly evening, more than 75 people attended the opening of Villa Barr on Friday, October 12, including friends and family of David Barr and Beth Dwaihy-Barr. A unique park was the aim of City Council, beginning with support to enter a purchase agreement for the property and continuing with the allocation of development funds. The Friends of Villa Barr provided insight regarding the design of the park and many commented how the park is representative of what the Barrs envisioned — a place to highlight arts and culture in Novi.
As always, the completion of a park requires the coordination of numerous City departments. Villa Barr Art Park came together with the assistance of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, Department of Public Works - Engineering Divisions, and the Facilities and Parks and Municipal Grounds divisions of the Integrated Solutions Team. The Novi Parks Foundation and the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs provided funds to assist with park amenities and improvements to the home.
Currently, resident artists Patty Smith and Joo Won Park are working in the studio. Patty will be hosting Novi High School art students at Villa Barr on November 26 and visiting their classroom on November 27. Moving forward, four candidates are being considered as the next resident artist, beginning in January or February. Cityofnovi.org/villabarr offers a virtual tour of the sculptures and students from Eastern Michigan University are working to complete an audio tour.
The mission of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is to provide exceptional park, recreation and cultural opportunities that are diverse and enhance lives.