Main Street Reimagined & District Identifiers | Worcester, MA
The City of Worcester and the Worcester Cultural Coalition recognize creative placemaking, cultural economic development and the arts as powerful tools to improve quality of life and as an opportunity to reimagine the city. The Urban Culture Institute is working with project partners to develop and implement the placemaking strategy. The Main Street Reimagined and the Worcester Wayfinding projects are conceived to reflect elements of Worcester’s history, culture and community through the predominant themes of creativity, innovation and revolution.
Main Street Reimagined
Main Street Reimagined complements Worcester's current downtown artery reconstruction as a Complete Street. From north to south, the 1.2-mile long Main Street project stretches from the intersections of Lincoln Square (Highland Street/Belmont Street) in the north to Chandler Street/Madison Street in the south. The reconfigured Main Street will feature bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks with landscaping and street furnishings. Three new plazas will bring more attractive, welcoming frontages to the three downtown theaters along Main Street: the Hanover Theatre, Mechanics Hall and The Palladium. The overall goal is to increase walkability and vibrancy along the Main Street corridor through wayfinding and public art while taking into consideration activation and connectivity between primary nodes.
Main Street Reimagined was designed to create an understanding of the city's place in time and sense of place. The theme is to celebrate Worcester’s major achievements, its tradition of innovation, the past, present and future. Worcester was established as a town in 1722, became county seat of Worcester County in 1731, and incorporated as a city in 1848. Highlights of its industrial past include the development of the Smiley Face (Harvey Ball, 1963) and the first spacesuit (David Clark Company, 1965). In July 1776, Worcester residents witnessed the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in New England. The Free Soil (anti-slavery) Party was founded here in 1848 and the first national convention of women advocating women's suffrage took place in 1850.
Like many American cities Worcester is comprised of a diverse array of neighborhoods that have evolved and experienced continuous change and waves of immigration over time. The Worcester Historical Museum's ongoing exhibition program, extensive collections and research library holdings document the city's rich past. Currently, Worcester is experiencing a renaissance, sparked by the tireless joint efforts of its administration and neighborhoods in partnership with civic, economic, academic and cultural institutions as well as the non-profit community.
Main Street Reimagined Public Art & Streetscape Design, Phase One RFP
The RFP requesting professional artistic design & fabrication services for various furnishings & streetscape art was administered by the City of Worcester Executive Office of Economic Development in 2018. Eligible were artists, artist teams, and design professionals with experience in public art and monumental features. Professionals residing in or with studio space in the city of Worcester and the New England region were encouraged to apply.
Public art nodes at three newly configured plazas will feature landscaping, public art and lighting design:
Selbert Perkins Design Collaborative previously developed a citywide wayfinding plan for the City of Worcester. Artist-designed wayfinding elements for up to 14 locations throughout the city incorporating public art into District Identifiers are being implemented in the second phase of the Main Street reconstruction project in 2019.
Public Art Commissions
The City of Worcester commissioned the following creative placemaking projects:
Two RFPs for Main Street Reimagined and Worcester Wayfinding
The City of Worcester invited proposals from artists and designers for the creation of benches and bicycle racks for the Main Street Reimagined project and the creation of art panels for the first phase of the Worcester Wayfinding project. The themes of creativity, innovation and revolution will be the focal point of artistic storytelling along Main Street. #MakeArtEverywhere #art #storytelling #creativity
1. Main Street Reimagined – Phase 2 Benches and Bicycle Racks RFP
The City invites proposals for creative placemaking streetscape elements.
2. Worcester Wayfinding RFP
Design and fabricate artwork for District Identifier signs for installation in locations throughout the city of Worcester. Fourteen signs, each featuring three to four artwork panels measuring 5’-3” H x 1’-7 ¾” W, will reflect Worcester’s history, culture, and community in creative and interesting ways through particular themes related to creativity, industry, and revolution.
The District Identifiers are part of a system of place-making signage that emphasizes district identification and incorporates public art celebrating Worcester’s unique identity. A theme was carefully selected for each sign location, reflected in the artwork.
SCHEDULE & PUBLIC MEETINGS
Friday, October 30, 2020 | Deadline RFQ for Abby Kelley Foster Artistic Node Project at Main and Exchange Street
Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 at 6 p.m. | Informational Meeting via WebEx. Register by emailing Culture@WorcesterMA.gov
Fall 2020 | Delivery & Installation
beginning 2019 | Fabrication
July 2019 | Selected Artist/Teams submit final design drawings
July 2019 | Artist(s)/Team(s) selected
Friday, June 28, 2019 at 10 a.m. | Deadline for 2 Worcester RFP Submittals
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 6 p.m. | RFP Informational Meeting for Artists
Worcester PopUp, 20 Franklin St. 02608. View the Call for Artists here.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 6 p.m. | Informational Meeting
Worcester PopUp, 20 Franklin Street, Worcester, MA
For more information click here.
Friday, July 13, 2018 at 10 a.m. | Main Street Reimagined, Phase One Deadline
PRESS & RELEASES
Call for Artists: Main Street Reimagined and Worcester Wayfinding Projects.
City of Worcester Press Release, May 17, 2019.
Public Meeting on District Identifiers, March 13. City of Worcester Press Release,
March 8, 2019.
Call for Artists: Main Street Reimagined. City of Worcester Press Release,
June 12, 2018.
Luttrell, Aviva. "Here's how Worcester Plans to Use $11M and Three Performing
Arts Venues to Transform Main Street." masslive.com, April 3, 2018.
Call to Worcester Artists and Poets: Main Street Reimagined. Urban Culture
Institute, July 2017.
Foskett, Steven. "Fine-tuning Suggested for Worcester’s Planned Main Street
Revamp." Telegram & Gazette, December 7, 2016.
Also visit the City of Worcester Main Street Reimagined Webpage.
For additional information please email Christina Lanzl.