Your walk through the downtown area is getting a bit more musical and colorful thanks to the Springfield Central Cultural District.
Springfield Central Cultural District has been a nonprofit organization for about a year now. Its plan is to make the downtown area more comfortable and fun to walk around.
One of its initiatives is an Aug. 2 pop-up art walk. From 4:30-6 p.m. people can check out art displayed in downtown buildings, attend a jazz concert and even play pianos right outside. All ages are welcome.
Cultural district Director Morgan Drewniany believes art can bring the city together and increase the amount of walking downtown, whether it's people stopping to look at the painted utility boxes or artwork that school kids have done.
Three colorfully painted pianos were recently placed outside One Financial Plaza, the Springfield Public Schools office and the Market Place Shops. The pianos will be there for the public to play until September.
Inside the lobby of our schools office, at 1550 Main St., there is also artwork by students at The Springfield Renaissance School.
Megan Scaife, a junior at Renaissance whose drawing can be found in the lobby, said her inspiration came from Barry Moser's pen and ink drawing titled "Ephialtes," part of the revered Western Massachusetts artist's "Inferno" series.
In her piece, a self-portrait, Scaife highlighted the forehead and the heart. "My message is that you should always trust your brain and you should always trust your heart. To kind of connect with each other. You shouldn't just trust one or the other. You should use both to make every decision in your life," she said.
Also in her self-portrait, she's wearing a butterfly necklace; the necklace can always be found in her drawings. She received the butterfly necklace from her father at the age of seven from The Big E. "I love the whole idea of a butterfly, how it's in this little cocoon but it transforms into a beautiful butterfly," she said. "I believe anyone can do that."
Jack Devlan, who painted the piano found near the Market Place Shops, said, "I just brought down colors and went with it. I used a variety of tools to get my shapes and so forth."
The piano outside One Financial Plaza, 1350 Main St., was painted by Sheldon Smith. It's covered with gold seashells -- a play on the artist's first name. On the back of the piano Smith painted his son, Trevian Smith-Figueroa, because that's who inspired him to do the project and he happens to play the piano.
"Ideas are limitless. ... One day he ended up coming down and playing the piano so I figured that should be a feature," said Smith.
Smith loves the idea of the piano he painted being outdoors for the public to play. He said a security guard told him that a homeless man comes just about every night between the hours of 1-3 a.m. and just plays till he's tired. Smith believes the project's goal of bringing people together is exactly what's happening.
The Springfield Central Cultural District (SCCD) has launched its second district-wide public art program, following the success of last summer’s utility-box mural program. Three painted pianos have been installed in the metro center of Springfield, with the mission of activating space, encouraging pedestrian activity, and providing artist income.
This program of public pianos is linked to the international street-pianos movement, with participating cities including London, Paris, and Sydney. Info on the global project can be found at streetpianos.com.
On Monday, June 12, a small celebration and ribbon cutting will be held at 2 p.m. at the Market Place Shops, located behind 1341 Main St., to both showcase one of the works of art and bring light to the project. Two other pianos are also located in the district, at 1350 Main St. and 1550 Main St.
The Springfield Central Cultural District (SCCD) has issued a call to artists for a unique opportunity in downtown Springfield. The Cultural District is searching for artists to host a solo show in their Art Stop pop-up gallery program and sell their work in one of three locations downtown – New England Public Radio (NEPR), UMass Springfield, and 1550 Main.
The RFP asks for proposals from artists of all mediums to show their work from July to October. Requirements to what the art should look like are fairly laid-back, to best enable creative expression. All art will be available for sale during the display period, with 100% of proceeds going directly back to the creator. A stipend of $200 will also be awarded to the chosen artists.