Holyoke: POV draws crowds downtown

It’s been happening for decades – but now boiling over – Holyoke has seen in influx of artists; designers and producers of creative, cultural and intellectual products that are being exported around the globe. Once a city with the most millionaires per capita, Holyoke is again asserting itself on the world stage.

Holyoke: Points of View was a series of art and cultural events in April 2013 that drew thousands to Holyoke’s redeveloping downtown center. Made possible by the combined efforts of the Holyoke Public Library and the City of Holyoke’s Office of Planning and Economic Development there were various art installations, exhibitions, performances and workshops across the city throughout the entire month. “This was a great opportunity for all to experience the renaissance of Art & Innovation happening here” said Creative Economy Coordinator, Jeff Bianchine. “While most of the subject matters did offer actual artistic perspectives on Holyoke, getting people here to see what Holyoke is becoming and gain their own perspective was the whole point behind HPOV.”

You can listen to the City of Holyoke’s Creative Economy Coordinator, Jeffrey Bianchine talk about Holyoke: Points of View on WNHP below:

Opening April 4th in Open Square’s 4th Floor Gallery Space, “A Walk thru Holyoke: 1982” was an exhibition of never before seen photographs by the renowned Jereome Liebling. This was the first exhibition of the artists work since his death in 2011 and there to speak at the benefit gala was former student, self-professed Leibling protégé and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. His off the cuff speech brought some to tears, adding he “is thrilled to be caught up in our whirlwind”. Hundred from all over the Pioneer Valley and beyond attend the benefit gala – and the Library Campaign successfully hit its goal of raising $30,000 for the new facility.

Companion exhibits “Holyoke: Thru our Eyes” and the ”The Ripple Effect” were displayed nearby featuring photographs by several Girls Inc. students with narrative stories written by Holyoke senior citizens in a workshop conducted by the Enchanted Circle Theatre at the new Senior Center.

Holyoke: Paint the Views, curated by Nancy Howard, was on display at the Canal Gallery all month and featured paintings of the Paper City by over 20 artists and saw a crowd of over 350 at its opening reception. Many local artists sold work.

At the Taber Art Gallery and campus-wide, Holyoke Community College held its annual art exhibit featuring the wok of hundreds of students.

Deposit” was a food and art experience that popped-up downtown in the old bank in the Hadley Falls Trust Company Building. Top Chefs from Boston and New York prepared a 7-course tapas style meal. Receiving your course at the teller windows, dinner was also a unique crowd-sourcing fundraising opportunity for seven local non-profits. The first night sold out so quick, organizer Brendan Ceiko opened a second night to accommodate the demand. If there were more restaurants like Deposit, 88% of diners surveyed said they’d return to downtown Holyoke regularly.

At a gallery on Race St, Paper City Studio/PCS80, local artist Lyn Huran showcased her work with Holyoke High School Upward Bound Students, who explored the many textures of the city with photography. “Holyoke Surfaces” was featured in the Boston Globe.

In Building 1 at the former Waurgean Paper Mill played host to a multitude of exhibits. Contemporary photographer Jeffrey R. Byrnes presented his images of Holyoke alongside Bill Ravonsisi photos (that were taken at the same time Liebling photographed the city) in an exhibit title “Holyoke: Then and Now”. The Holyoke History Room presented “Boomtown”, the work of Milan P. Warner, a professional photographer working in Holyoke between 1880 and 1900. The Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts (MIFA) worked with Porterhouse Media to produce a short film introducing the audience to three Silent Film Stars that are from Holyoke. And the Holyoke Public Library displayed some of the submissions it has received for its Glass Block Project.

And last but not least, there was REACH – which drew hundreds to Holyoke and Easthampton on its opening day April 13th – connecting the two cities with site-specific installations happening in atypical spaces. A bus delivered audiences to places like Holyoke City Hall, the City Hall Annex building, the windows of the Steiger Building on High Street, and the new Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC). At the Wistariahurst Museum, artist Chris Nelson transformed the music room into a string instrument itself.

Find more information visit www.hpov.org

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