By Miles Montgomery
WESTERLY, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, and Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, Jr. joined the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly to celebrate the reopening of the Westerly Train Station Friday.
Following Amtrak’s change to online and mobile smartphone ticketing, the station was closed for the last two years. The new station features an indoor waiting area, access to restrooms while providing a new arts venue for the local Westerly community. The station will be closed Sunday to Tuesday but will open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“This project is a fantastic example of what can be accomplished through successful partnerships. The state, local community and the Artists’ Cooperative worked together on a solution that will provide a vital service to the public while expanding the cultural fabric of the community,” Raimondo said.
“It is great to see this historic train station being reopened to welcome travelers and art lovers alike. Instead of just a platform for passengers, it will serve as a platform for talented local artists to showcase their work in this unique setting,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. Senator Reed is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development , who worked to provide record funding for Amtrak in 2018, some of which will help Westerly Train Station make needed improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This creative approach for reopening the Westerly Train Station provides a temporary home for the Artists’ Cooperative of Westerly, ensuring the public retains access to the works of local artists. I applaud the Gallery and RIDOT for working together to support Rhode Island’s art economy,” Langevin said.
“Westerly Station is an important part of our transit infrastructure,” Alviti said. “It is wonderful to see it come back to life with a new tenant. We appreciate the willingness of the Artists’ Cooperative to welcome Amtrak passengers. It creates a sense of vitality.”
Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly President Arlene Piacquadio said, “The Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly is pleased to join with RIDOT and the Ocean Community United Theater to unite our community through the arts with work of local artists displayed in the Westerly Train Station.”
The gallery is expected to remain in the station until renovations are completed on its former location, the United Theatre complex. The complex will be home to the gallery and will be the first satellite location of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School when the renovations are finished.
The Westerly station, owned by RIDOT, has served passengers since 1912 and provides service for Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, including nine stops on weekdays and six stops on weekends.