The SPark! Igniting Our Community call resulted in remarkable applications. “We were very excited about the strength of the applications to participate in the public art program in Pynchon Park,” said Karen Finn, Executive Director for the Springfield Cultural Partnership. “The decision-making was difficult.”
The SPark! Art Committee included representation from Springfield Cultural Council, Springfield Parks, Apremont Quadrangle Civic Association, Skyview Downtown, and the Springfield Technical Community College Carberry Fine Arts Gallery.
· Roberly Bell (Pelham, MA): Artful Seating
· Lauren Celini (Springfield, MA): Utility Art
· Michelle Falcón Fontánez & Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría (Boston, MA): Mosaic Art
· RT Woods (Springfield, MA): Fencing Art
· Beth Crawford (Haydenville, MA): 3D Sculptural Art
· Jeffrey Lara (Springfield, MA): 3D Sculptural Art
· Make-It Springfield: Library Box
· Outdoor Musical Instruments (United Kingdom): Sound Sculpture (to be embellished by a local artist)
The call was open to all artists, and special consideration was given to installations that include Springfield artists, artists of color, LGBTQA+, and female artists.
Funding of these eight projects is thanks to a combination of public and private monies—including a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program Grant and City of Springfield Community Development Block Grant.
The project is designed to engage city artists, residents, community stakeholders, and cultural institutions to actively participate to re-imagine public art that celebrates Springfield’s citizens, culture, and historical legacies. Competitive proposals will be inspired by aspects of Springfield itself—including its historic and/or present-day people, cultures, places and landscapes, architecture, etc.—and can be literal or creative, interpretive representations.
“Empowering the arts and cultural community is paramount to the strength and resilience of our community,” said Karen Finn, Executive Director for the Springfield Cultural Partnership.
“The SPark! project is a remarkable opportunity to create a museum without walls that builds on the hopes and vision of our community in the heart of downtown Springfield,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums.
“Pynchon Park will become more than just an easy way to walk from downtown to the Springfield Museums, the Central Library, and the Armory. It will become a community space for solace, conversation, programming, and play surrounded by intriguing art,” said Simpson. “We are thrilled to co-create an Art Park that showcases the talents of artists from Springfield and beyond.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT/ GOALS & PURPOSE
SPark! Igniting Our Community is a two-year public art project to transform recently reopened Pynchon Plaza into a vibrant public space with innovative multi-media art installations created by local and national artists. The project is designed to engage city artists, residents, community stakeholders, and cultural institutions to actively participate to re-imagine public art that celebrates Springfield’s citizens, culture and historical legacies. Competitive proposals will be inspired by aspects of Springfield itself—including its historic and/or present-day people, cultures, places and landscapes, architecture, etc.,—and can be literal or creative, interpretive representations.
ABOUT THE PROJECT PARTNERS
The Springfield Museums, the SPark! grant recipient and fiscal agent for the project, is a nonprofit organization of five museums located in the heart of downtown Springfield, MA. The mission of the Springfield Museums—as the regional center for informal learning for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)—is to warmly welcome all visitors and spark their curiosity with art, science, history and all things Seuss. Formed in 1857, the Springfield Museums support the preservation and vibrancy of the evolving cultural heritage of Springfield. The Museum’s permanent collections and robust lineup of exhibitions, educational programs, and special events inspire, educate, and entertain 500,000 regional, national, and international visitors annually. Springfield city residents receive free admission.
Springfield Cultural Partnership (SCP), the grant recipient serving as Project Director for SPark!, connects artists, institutions and audiences to create and celebrate Springfield. The SCP is a 501c3 founded in 2016 to serve all of Springfield, MA. A member based organization, the SCP includes a diverse mix of individuals and organizations all committed to supporting the vitality of the local cultural economy. The SCP oversees the MCC-designated Springfield Central Cultural District. The SCP’s mission is to foster civic engagement and arts education in the City of Springfield by creating and sustaining a vibrant cultural environment that authentically engages institutions, artists, and the community.
The City of Springfield Parks Division’s mission is to maintain and enhance Springfield’s parks and open spaces to provide safe and sustainable active and passive recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Pynchon Plaza is the property of the City of Springfield, and the Parks Division is responsible for its care and maintenance along with over 50 parks (2,500 acres), 160 traffic islands and terraces, and 55 miles of city sidewalks to ensure safe passage for school children and residents. The Division also conducts construction projects aimed at expanding and reclaiming parkland and open space to increase, diversify, and improve quality recreational programming and leisure activities. The Division is currently working on restoring four city parks, including Pynchon Plaza, in order to bring basic amenities like electrical services, green space, pedestrian pathways, wayfinding and seating.
This project is funding in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.