2020 in Review

December 29, 2020

Dear Chelsea Area Community:

2020 will be a year to remember. All of us at Chelsea Area Festivals & Events (CAFE) hope that these remarkable times bring out the best in all of us as we stay safe and continue to care for our families, friends, and community.

We are happy and hopeful for a new year celebrating Sounds & Sights together again. But first, we want to share the accomplishments of 2020 befitting our mission to enrich Chelsea and the surrounding communities by promoting quality performing and visual arts throughout the year:

  • The CAFE Grants for the Arts, one-time unrestricted grants of $1,000 each, were awarded to five applicants to help continue artistic and creative efforts that make performing and visual arts such a vital part of our community. The applicants represented an abundance of talent and showcased the many art forms that make up CAFE’s annual Sounds & Sights events: music, performance art, chalk art, sculptures, and artisans.
  • Hometown Holiday was reimagined in collaboration with the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce, which will take the lead going forward. For example, instead of drawing crowds to the traditional downtown Light Parade, the Chelsea Area Fire Department escorted Santa through City of Chelsea neighborhoods, wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas on their porches and in their yards. The popular Pam Radcliffe Gingerbread House workshops were modified so that the community could safely drive through and pick-up gingerbread cookie kits to decorate at home.
  • This year, CAFE awarded $2,000 in Arts Scholarships to 2020 Chelsea High School graduates. The scholarships were increased from one to four, awarding two $500 Music Scholarships and two $500 Visual Arts Scholarships.
  • The 11th annual SculptureWalk Chelsea added a new location at McKinley’s Chelsea Clocktower complex, bringing the total number to 14. The creative found-object sculpture, “Elk Bugling” by Kyle Burnett, was purchased to the benefit of both the artist and CAFE. And, the SculptureWalk 2021 “Call for Artists” has gone out with the artists’ stipends increased to $850. 

Looking forward to 2021, we will remain flexible and adaptable as we plan to bring outdoor music, visual arts, and entertainment back to downtown. We pledge to do so safely and will communicate updates and details as soon as possible.

CAFE will introduce a streamlined virtual online Sponsorship Drive in February. Thanks to the financial investment of our sponsors and support of so many in our community, we are busy planning the 16th Anniversary of the Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights summer concert series and the 44th Sounds & Sights Festival weekend in July, plus the 12th annual SculptureWalk Chelsea.

May the light of the season fill your heart, and may its music fill your soul. 


Craig Common

Board President, Chelsea Area Festivals & Events