June 8, 2010 - Community leaders and artists were on hand today to welcome the arrival of 20 six-foot high sneakers to be installed around downtown Springfield once they are decorated. The huge fiberglass footwear will serve as canvases for artists chosen through the Art & Soles public art project to answer the question, “What Makes Springfield Great?”
Attending the kick-off event was Domenic J. Sarno, Mayor of Springfield; Maryann Lombardi, director of creative economy for the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Don Courtemanche, executive director of the Springfield Business Improvement District; Nancy Urbschat of TSM Design, organizers of the Arts & Soles public art project, along with partner organization, The Young Professionals Society of Greater Springfield and the artists chosen to decorate the sneakers.
The event also celebrated the opening of the Main Street studio, a site vacant for years, which provides a creative space for the participating artists, who hail from Springfield, UMass Amherst and around the Pioneer Valley. The work is to be completed by the first week of August when the finished products will be installed at various locations around downtown.
Art & Soles is modeled after other successful public art projects around the country. After three months, the sneakers will be auctioned at a community event to benefit a local charity.