Main Street Reimagined | 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 Main Street. 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 with George/Thomas to Austin/Myrtle streets. 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 is expected to create an understanding of the city's place in time and sense of place. The overarching 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.
The Urban Culture Institute is working with project partners to develop and implement the placemaking strategy. The program is comprised of wayfinding elements, public art at key nodes and artist-designed features, such as benches, bollards, bus shelters, pavement treatments, lighting, poetry, etc.
Call to Worcester Artists and Poets
Deadline: July 20, 2017
The City of Worcester and the Worcester Cultural Coalition invite artists and poets who live and/or maintain a studio in Worcester, MA to be considered for one or several creative Main Street Reimagined placemaking art projects. Artists with previous experience completing outdoor art installations are encouraged to apply. Stay tuned for an official RFP to be issued by the City of Worcester. Please send a brief email that includes your website, address and telephone number along with your artistic medium under subject line "Consider for Main Street Reimagined" to the curator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the Call to Artists and Poets flyer.
Overview of Main Street Reimagined Components
Public art nodes
Three newly configured plazas will feature landscaping, public art and lighting design:
• Carroll Plaza in front of the Hanover Theatre
• Mechanics Hall, Main Street at Walnut Street
• The Palladium, Main Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Creative placemaking streetscape elements
Benches, bicycle racks, trash receptacles, fencing and bollards, bus shelters, pavement treatments.
Selbert Perkins Design Collaborative previously developed a citywide wayfinding plan for the City of Worcester. Already designed wayfinding elements for 14 locations throughout the city incorporating public art into District Identifiers will be implemented as part of the Main Street reconstruction project.
Foskett, Steven. "Fine-tuning Suggested for Worcester’s Planned Main Street Revamp." Telegram & Gazette, December 7, 2016.
Luttrell, Aviva. "Here's how Worcester Plans to Use $11M and Three Performing Arts Venues to Transform Main Street." masslive.com, April 3, 2018.
For additional information please email Christina Lanzl.