Springfield (MA)—The Springfield Museums and Springfield Cultural Partnership announce a celebration of public outdoor art created by local artists in the beautiful, newly renovated Pynchon Plaza Saturday, June 4, from 2-3 pm. In addition to opportunities to meet and talk to the artists, visitors can engage in the public space with performers and activities. On a day filled with excitement including the Springfield Pride Parade and the Seuss-iversary Kick-Off Family Event at the Museums, the celebration at Pynchon Park is a must-stop experience.
The SPark! Igniting Our Community initiative enlivens a civic engagement space with art installations by ten artists. The 2020 call open to all gave special consideration to installations that included Springfield artists, artists of color, LGBTQ+, and female artists. The art is now in place, ready for all to see.
“We are excited to witness Pynchon Park continue to expand its potential as a hub of civic engagement and community conversations,” said Karen Finn, Executive Director for the Springfield Cultural Partnership. “We are hopeful the art in the park will entice people to stop, look, and talk about what they are experiencing.”
Public art is a reflection of how we see the world–the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are, states the Association for Public Art. Although it is set in a public realm, and often is the result of a public process involving many stakeholders, public art is subject to a variety of opinions.
“Diversity of opinion draws attention, interest, conversation, and debate—that is good!” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “The Park, with its staircase to the Chestnut Street entrance to the Springfield Museums, is a tremendous gateway to further exploration of art.” All Springfield residents receive free access to the Springfield Museums.
“We hope many people will stop in to meet the artists on Saturday and enjoy the dynamic performances and exciting activities, including talking with the artists,” said Finn.
The artists include
- Ryan Murray, c/o Rosemary Tracy Woods’s Art for the Soul Gallery, Springfield, MA,“One People,” fence art
- Sophia Anaya-Alegría and Michelle Falcón Fontánez, Galeria L’Alvilda Artes Plásticas y Artes Urbanas desde Guayama Puerto Rico, Mossaic, “El Litoral”
- Roberley Bell, Social seating for Pynchon Plaza
- Jeffrey Lara, Stoneyhill, MA, “Our Presence at Dawn,” sculpture
- Beth Crawford, Yellowdog, Northampton, MA, “Duryea Redux,” sculpture
- Lauren Celini, Blur Street Art, Portals, Paintings
- Christopher Peck and Sheldon Smith, Make-It Springfield, Springfield, MA, “Free Little Library Box”
- Common Wealth Mural & Good Space Mural, “Home, Here”
- Pipe Drum & Frame Chime, Sound Sculpture
- Serendipity Stilt Dancers
- Rachel Clemente playing harp, from the Community Music School of Springfield
- Matthew Holmes on the keyboard, from the Community Music School of Springfield
- Urban Wizard’s Academy’s Scotty Swan
This day of celebration will also include videography by GRNSX Studio, a Latino-owned, local business, and design by Chris Seabrooks Graphic Design. The Springfield Public Library will supply the Free Little Library boxes with books.
“Collaboration and engagement has defined SPark! from day one,” said Finn. “We are deeply grateful to all who have contributed their time and talent and funds.”
Spark! was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, administered by the Springfield Museums in cooperation with the Springfield Cultural Partnership. Funding was also provided by the City of Springfield Community Development Block Grant.
More about Spark! Art
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.
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.”
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.