public art

One of three street pianos in Springfield, MA
WAMC

   The newest public art venture in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts was formally unveiled today.

     Springfield is now one of about 40 cities around the world with “street pianos.”

     Upright pianos that have been colorfully decorated by professional artists have been put at three locations downtown. The pianos have signs inviting people – regardless of skill level – to sit down and play.

     Morgan Drewniany, Executive Director of the Springfield Central Cultural District, said the pianos will add vibrancy to downtown and create a feeling of community.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The City of Troy has launched a new community campaign to develop a master plan for the arts. 

At a packed meeting Wednesday evening at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on River Street, art consultant Todd Bressi gave a presentation on how cites across the country have been able to incorporate public art to build community, revitalize neighborhoods, and bring in development.

To most people, an old abandoned building is nothing more than a dangerous eyesore in need of a wrecking ball. But in the Capital District, hundreds of vacant structures will be transformed into works of art. Funded with a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Breathing Lights will illuminate buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy beginning next year. The project is the brainchild of University at Albany art professor Adam Frelin, and architect Barbara Nelson. WAMC’s Brian Shield spoke with both.

Rob Hitzig

In November, Rob Hitzig, an artist based in Montpelier, Vermont, had a wordless billboard installed beside Route 9 in Queensbury, New York. The space typically reserved for advertising featured a colorful, abstract image that Hitzig has described as an “antidote” to constant, demanding messages. 

WAMC

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.