Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with President of the Springfield Museums Kay Simpson, Executive Director for the Springfield Cultural Partnership Karen Finn and Executive Director of PBRM Patrick Sullivan for an announcement as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $100,000 in Our Town Grant to the City of Springfield, the Springfield Museums and the Springfield Cultural Partnership.
The funding will support the creation of public art for the newly renovated Pynchon Plaza in collaboration with City of Springfield and the Springfield Museums, and in partnership with the Springfield Cultural Partnership and Skyview Downtown. The Spark!: Igniting Our Community project is a two-year public art project that will transform the soon to be reopened Pynchon Plaza into a vibrant public space through innovative multi-media art installations created by local and national artists that celebrates Springfield’s citizens, culture and heritage.
The public art project at Pynchon Plaza will create a walkable pathway between the Springfield Museum district and the commercial downtown, spurring retail and public space projects along these avenues and encouraging greater tourism throughout the city.
Mayor Sarno states, “This funding for the creation of public art will complement our soon to reopened Pynchon Plaza nicely and serve to connect our world famous Springfield Museums, especially the one and only in the world Dr. Seuss Museum, and our downtown district which offers numerous venues for residents and tourism. I am proud that this joint collaboration was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and want to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication in supporting our city’s strong public art works, many of which have been displayed not only throughout our downtown but across our neighborhoods too.”
“The City of Springfield’s renovation of the Pynchon Park Plaza has long been in the works and remains under construction, but with this funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the park will be able to receive an even more dramatic facelift with the addition of art,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “The Springfield Museums and the Springfield Cultural Partnership will join together to make this a reality and I look forward to seeing the final result.”
“The Spark Art project is a remarkable opportunity to create a museum without walls informed by the hopes and vision of community members in the heart of downtown Springfield,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “Pynchon Park will become more than just an easy way to walk from downtown to the Springfield Museums, the Central Library, and the Armory. It will become a community space for solace and conversation surrounded by intriguing art. We feel privileged to play a role in creating an Art Park that showcases the talents of artists from Springfield and beyond.”
“Empowering the arts and cultural community is paramount to the strength and resilience of our community. In addition to the wide range of public art installations, Pynchon Park will be a new venue for Springfield artist and organizations to utilize for programming and other activations,” said Karen Finn, Executive Director for the Springfield Cultural Partnership. “Receiving the NEA Our Town grant amplifies the SCP’s goal of connecting artists, institutions, and audiences to celebrate Springfield’s creativity.”
PBRM Director Sullivan stated, “The Springfield Park Department is pleased to be partnering with Springfield Museums in providing the opportunity to display local artists and their work throughout the newly renovated Pynchon Plaza. This park will provide a unique drop back for local artists and their art will provide a dynamic experience as park patrons visit this new park. It’s very exciting that Pynchon Plaza will be open once again providing the opportunity to gain access to Chestnut Street Museum entrance from Dwight Street. We look forward to many years of beautiful art exhibits provided through the Museums and their cooperative efforts with Springfield Cultural Partnership.”
The National Endowment for the Arts has approved a total of 51 grants nationwide as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020.
Chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts Mary Anne Carter stated, “These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their art projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis. We celebrate organizations like the Springfield Museums and the Springfield Cultural Partnership for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”
The collaboration between the City of Springfield, the Springfield Museums, Springfield Cultural Partnership and Skyview Downtown, a privately owned apartment complex, is reimagining the soon to be reopened Pynchon Plaza as a pedestrian-friendly park which will serve as an art-filled connector between Springfield’s reenergized downtown and the Springfield Museums, Springfield Central Library and Springfield Armory National Historic site.