Call for Art Seeks Proposals for Street Furniture

The City of Holyoke has received $7,500 in grant funding for the installation of custom-made street furniture designed and built by Holyoke-based artists and makers as both permanent infrastructure and public pieces of art. The funding has been provided by the “TDI Places” Small Grants Program from MassDevelopment, a part of the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI).  Funding will be used to produce custom street furniture that will remain available and periodically re-positioned throughout portions of Holyoke’s Innovation District. The measure is meant to encourage activity and use of urban space on a day-to-day basis, in what is commonly referred to as “place making”.

“Place making occurs when an underutilized space becomes activated by the community as a place for pop-ups and social gatherings, and Holyoke is a great city for that,” said Marcos Marrero, Director of Planning & Economic Development.  “Adding street furniture to a space may seem like a small gesture, but beyond an aesthetic improvement, it provides an opportunity for the public to create a better sense of place in the downtown, providing another way for people and ideas to collide. This will go a long way in sustaining the momentum and energy being generated throughout Center City that is associated with new development and a renewed vibrancy of the area.”

Grants were provided to municipalities in Massachusetts to support small-scale projects proposed for and taking place in visible public areas of each community’s TDI districts. The City’s Office of Planning and Economic Development issued a “Call for Art” for artists to submit proposals for the design and creation of the street furniture.  Designs will be evaluated for creativity, feasibility, and functionality with assistance by an evaluation panel made up of City employees, members of the Holyoke Cultural Council and community members. The deadline to submit proposals is August 31, and one to four awards are expected for fabrication. The new furniture is expected to be unveiled in conjunction with Next Stop: Holyoke, a three-day cultural festival to be held over Columbus Day weekend in October 2015.  View the full Call for Art.

“As the City sees millions in public and private infrastructure upgrades, my administration continues to think creatively about how to secure funding from outside sources that will enhance and complement these investments,” Mayor Alex Morse said. “Our goal with this innovative and entrepreneurial project is that it will uniquely enrich and define our downtown public spaces, while supporting the artists and makers of our community.”

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) seeks to enhance local public-private engagement and community identity, stimulate an improved quality of life for local residents, and spur increased investment and economic activity.  Holyoke earned one of ten Transformative District designations by MassDevelopment last year for the area located along and between Dwight, Appleton, Maple and Main Streets, encompassing most of the public and private projects happening within the City’s Urban Renewal Area.

More information about Holyoke’s TDI District can be found here.