Metal sculptures will be put on display throughout downtown Springfield this month in the latest effort to use public art to attract more people to the city’s downtown. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
The sculptures are the work of Hilltowns artist James Kitchen, who takes discarded metal, such as wheel rims, machine gears, farm implements, tools and other scrap metal and turns it into art, which he describes as thoughtful and whimsical.
Kitchen has his work on display at his home studio in Chesterfield, at art galleries through out the Pioneer Valley, and for the last few months, dozens of his works have been in the lobby and hallways of the recently renovated former federal building in downtown Springfield. Included in that display, one of his better known, and larger, pieces called Universe Revealed
The James Kitchen Public Art Initiative's next venue is the outdoor installation in downtown Springfield, and the artist says he's working on metal sculptures that relate to the city's history.
The public art project in downtown Springfield has been spear headed by the Springfield Business Improvement District.
BID executive director Don Courtemanche says this latest venture follows the success of a public art exhibit two years ago, where local artists painted large fiberglass basketball sneakers that were placed throughout the downtown.
Courtemanche credits the art project two summers ago with doubling the foot traffic through Springfield's River Front Park.
Locations are still being finalized for between20 and 30 of James Kitchen's metal sculptures.
The public art show will kick off Saturday (May 12) with an Art Party at the former federal building at 1550 Main Street. It wraps up a day of downtown activities that include architectural tours and the annual street fest known as the "World's Largest Pancake Breakfast"