SPark!

SPark! IGNITING OUR COMMUNITY

The SPark! project has ignited our community with public art installations in Pynchon Plaza, in Downtown Springfield. The project — a collaboration between The Springfield Museums, Springfield Cultural Partnership , Mayor Domenic Sarno, The Springfield Parks and Recreation Department, and the Springfield Business Improvement District — included a call for proposals that would transform Pynchon Plaza into a dynamic museum without walls, a vibrant public space with innovative multi-media art installations by local artists.

The call for art went out in December of 2019; the final works were installed throughout 2021 and the final eight local artists were celebrated publicly at a Meet the Artist event in November 2021.

Each of the works were inspired by Springfield’s cultural and historical legacies, including past and/or present day residents, neighborhoods, cultural traditions and landmarks, places and landscapes, architecture, and other distinctive qualities that make our city a special place to live, work, and visit.

 

Congratulations to the Artists Chosen for SPark! – Bringing Art to Pynchon Park Plaza

1. Roberley Bell (Pelham, MA): Artful Seating, www.roberleybell.com, www.instagram.com/roberleybell/

Born in Greenfield Massachusetts, Bell received a BFA from University of Massachusetts and an MFA from the State University of New York College of Ceramics. She maintained a studio in Holyoke, MA. Bell’s work centers on the production of sculpture and site-specific public projects.

Inspired by nature, Bell’s practice draws on the world around her, in particular the observation of nature and the built environment. Bell’s sculptures are embedded in the formal language of spatial composition. color, contrasting material, textures and distinctive form are all at play -straddling the space between representation and abstraction.

Bell has been awarded many fellowships including the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Pollock Krasner Fellowship, and a Senior Scholar Fulbright to Turkey. 

2. Lauren Celini (Springfield, MA): Utility Art, www.blurstreetart.com, www.instagram.com/blurstreetart/

Lauren Celini is a disabled multimedia artist from Philadelphia who strives to create unifying artwork that addresses our basic need to be seen and heard. Her career as a public artist began in 2015 following a serious health issue, it was then that she began to open her work to the public.

As a long time admirer of public art, she loved how walking down the street became like walking through a museum – ever inspiring, ever-changing, ever accessible. Though the inspiration of her work stems from a very personal space, her motivation to keep creating is to have a positive impact on the communities in which she works.

3. Jefferey Lara (Springfield, MA): Sculpture
lovestoneyhill.com, www.instagram.com/lovestoneyhill/

My name is Jeffrey Lara I’ve been a resident of Springfield since I was 11, I am currently 21, I’m currently planning on entering school for architecture. I own a design studio called Stoneyhill, its a spiritually based design studio.

Part of our focus is creating and developing functional installations and objects, that promote healing in form of light and color, as well as teaches the wisdom of spirituality. I’ve found great joy in hearing about the call due to the fact that part of the studios DNA is focusing on community-based installation and teachings that allow community members to have an easier time interconnecting with each other.

4. Beth Crawford (Springfield, MA): Sculpture
www.instagram.com/yellowdog.noho/

I have always believed in the power of art to change lives. I am especially committed to free public art as a way to inspire young people, to encourage thought and conversation and to bring communities together.

My goal is to bring solace, inspiration, peace and happiness  to others who view my art. Our team is made up of three women who are committed to social justice and who have spent decades working to improve the lives of others in the fields of law and social work, and now through our art. We each have our own aesthetic, which compliments each other. We are all drawn to recycling and repurposing as part of a commitment to the world we will leave our children.

5. Ryan Murray (Springfield, MA): Fencing Art
ryanamurray.com, https://www.instagram.com/rywandojones/

I combine elements from pop culture, my photography, Google Earth stills, magazine collages, and social media into a digital image, which I then layer in Photoshop or Gimp. Once printed, I take them back to my home studio in Springfield where I make the intricate cuts by hand until my wrist gets sore.

This deliberate act of cutting by hand is both meditative and progressive. A social commentary I spend a lot of time exploring in my art is the underrepresentation of mental health in African-American communities, which leads to conversations on racial tensions in our country.

6.  Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría (Springfield, MA) & Michelle Falcón Fontánez (Boston, MA): Mosaic Art
https://www.facebook.com/GaleriaLAlvilda
https://www.falconfontanezfoto.com, https://www.instagram.com/falconfontanezfoto/

Alvilda Sophia Anaya-Alegría, was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico and has a Master’s of Science in Economic Development, from Southern University of New Hampshire.  She is a writer, poet, scholar, performer, muralist and installation artist.

In her quest to incorporate Urban Planning and Development, she collaborated with architects to design and paint murals and has also worked with museums to build Art History and Economic Development Architectural Installations and museographs and Architectural Murals, one in Springfield and another in Guayama, Puerto Rico, her birth place. Her poetry has been published in several newspapers in North America and Latin America.

Michelle Falcón Fontánez, is an award winning storyteller working in photography, film, theater and installation art. Michelle has witnessed and personally experienced injustices that have shaped her views of the world, motivating her pursuit of making change through art.

Her artistry has primarily focused on social issues, where she has created work to illuminate voices that have not been heard. Michelle’s early work, a women’s focused documentary on the impacts of the economic crisis of Puerto Rico before Hurricane María, has expanded her advocacy on Puerto Rico, establishing a group that supports entrepreneurship on the island through a yearly arts fundraiser.

7. Make-It Springfield Artists (Springfield, MA): Free Library Box
https://makeitspringfield.org, https://instagram.com/makeitspringfield/

Make-It Springfield supports the creative needs of a diverse Springfield community. Its dynamic, eclectic learning environment invites people of any background or skill level to explore and create, while promoting inclusion and collaboration in all forms of culture, art, and technology.

Make-It Springfield provides space, tools, and vision, especially for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, to explore and work on creative projects. Make-It Springfield provides a multicultural home that invites creativity, invention, and artistic experimentation through dialogue, collaboration, and the sharing of skills and ideas.

8. Acoustic Arts (Springfield, MA): Sound Sculpture
https://acousticarts.org.uk/about_us.php
https://instagram.com/acoustic_arts_uk/

Acoustic Arts was originally established in 1990 as a community arts organization aiming to promote outdoor learning and creative play and to improve access to music-making for people of all abilities.

Since that time, our team of musicians, artists and teachers has created award-winning musical installations and provided workshops for educational, arts and environmental organizations throughout the UK.

A two-year public art project to envision and create public art that serves to connect our city, residents and visitors, that will transform recently reopened Pynchon Plaza into a vibrant public space!
  • Collective process to imagine, select, and commission public art that celebrates Springfield’s citizens, culture and heritage. 
  • Use the arts to connect neighborhoods and people, creating equitable partnerships that demonstrate the power of civic engagement for more vibrant and livability communities.
  • Turn an under-utilized urban park into a free outdoor art gallery that all city residents and visitors can experience as an inviting place to gather, socialize and enjoy their city.
  • Improve physical access between neighborhoods by improving traffic patterns and pedestrian and public safety.
  • Encourage tourism throughout the city.

Thank you to our funders!

Support for SPark! Igniting Our Community has been generously provided by: National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant & City of Springfield Community Development Block Grant!

Project Partners:

Springfield MuseumsSpringfield Cultural Partnership and City of Springfield Department of Parks & Recreation

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