Outdoor Art Initiative Comes to Main Street
Local artist Lorraine MacAlpine works on the utility box
right outside Tower Square’s Main Street entrance last month.
You probably walk or drive past them many times a week, and yet they often go un-noticed. Now however, the utility boxes on Main Street are hard to miss, as the Springfield Central Cultural District (SCCD) has launched a creative new outdoor art gallery initiative, using downtown’s utility boxes as the canvas for local artists.
Approximately 20 downtown businesses and organizations, including CBRE/Tower Square management, have agreed to sponsor the utility boxes near their properties. Sponsorship monies go straight to the local artists, who designed their own creations.
Lorraine MacAlpine, the artist who designed the sneaker sculpture in Tower Square Park, was selected to do the utility box at Tower Square’s front door on Main Street. MacAlpine’s utility box design was intentionally created to reflect the colors and floral design of Tower Square’s sneaker sculpture just down the street.
“The Springfield Central Cultural District’s Utility Box Mural Program was designed to encourage walkability and livability in downtown Springfield through artist engagement,” explained Morgan Drewniany, Executive Director of the SCCD. “We are excited to be able to create an outdoor gallery, accessible to both visitors, workers and residents, and to beautify unexpected places.”
Another component of the SCCD’s outdoor art gallery includes a joint project between Partners for a Healthier Community and Tufts University entitled “You’re the Mom”, which aims to empower low-income women to guide their families to healthier dining choices at fast food restaurants. As well as creating a large wall mural near the McDonalds on State Street, this project will also include a mural on the utility box in Tower Square Park with the same “You’re the Mom” theme.
Artists began working on the utility box murals in late May are expected to complete the projects this month.
More details on this program can be found at SpringfieldCulture.Org/ArtistResources. Live updates on the painting can be found at their Twitter - @slfdculture. Schedule of painting available upon request.
Works of Local Digital Photogs on Display at Valley Photo Center
Five regional photographers are showcasing their diverse work in digital photography in the Connections & Disconnections Exhibit at the Valley Photo Center through June 17th.
The photographers, who are all veterans of the art of digital photography, include: Jim Gambaro, Bruce Kahn, Bernie Kubiak, Bill Rowley and Tom Wyatt.
A resident of Belchertown, Gambaro’s work has been in numerous publications and hangs in homes and offices throughout the Northeast. “Through my photographs of the natural world,” he explains, “I strive to bring an artist's vision and a child’s eye for wonder to environs as familiar as the backyards of Western Massachusetts or as exotic as Antarctica.”
Kahn is a fine art photographer and musician who lives in Northfield. His work consists largely of digital collages which tell a story. “I use photography the way others use paint – to create fantasy pieces, but with the twist of appearing as if I simply photographed an existing scene,” he says.
Kubiak is an Amherst-based photographer who works with natural light using both digital and film cameras. With subjects ranging from landscape to street photography, his images have been featured in many exhibits throughout the area.
Rowley lives and photographs in Florence. While he rules out nothing as a photographic subject or approach, most of his recent work has been macro in scale and abstract in style. In this group of images Rowley shows one of his favorite techniques: shining colored light through a piece of plastic which has been subjected to a small blow torch.
Wyatt, a photographic artist from Warwick, is a Hallmark Institute of Photography graduate (1996), a founding member of the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists and long-term member of the Warwick Arts Council. Of his work he says “I’ve always been fascinated by optical mysteries. Reflections enable multiple visual planes to exist simultaneously. The visible puzzles found in my photographs challenge what’s immediately identified and taken for granted.”
The Valley Photo Center is located on the second floor of Tower Square adjacent to the food court. The gallery is free to the public, and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All work is for sale.
Learn more at theValleyPhotoCenter@yolasitel.com
Argentina Tango Exhibit Coming to Art for the Soul Gallery
In keeping with their mission to feature artists of diverse cultures and backgrounds, the curator and artistic directors at the Art for the Soul Gallery are gearing up for what promises to be a very lively exhibit and event series focusing on Argentina, entitled “Tango”, which is expected to run from late June through mid-September at the gallery.
The exhibit will feature a wide array of artwork from seven artists, whose work is coming to Tower Square after recently being featured at the US Consul of Argentina in New York CityThe various events that are being planned throughout the exhibit include:
· Tango Dance Demonstrations along with the History of the Tango
· Argentinian Food & Wine Tastings
· Gallery Talks on the History of Argentina and its Contribution to the Arts
· Travel & Tourism to Argentina
Why Argentina and the Tango? The vivaciousness and diversity of the culture is what attracted Art for the Soul Curator and Executive Director, Tracy Woods and Artistic Director Billy Myers
“When you think of Argentinian Art, most people think of the dance, the Tango, which is a major part of Argentina’s art and culture,” explained Woods. “The excitement, the colors and the overall flavor of Argentina is something worth celebrating and sharing with our patrons.”
For more information on the exhibit and upcoming events at Art for the Soul Gallery, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Art-for-the-Soul
What's Happening at
Public Speaking Workshop: As part of their summer series, the UMass Center at Springfield will host a Public Speaking Workshop on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 4:30-6:00pm. The free workshop is a MUST for those looking to improve their public speaking skills. Thom Fox is will lead the session “Nope! No Way! Never!” In this workshop, Thom shares how he overcame shyness and gained the confidence to speak in front of over 43,000 audience members throughout his career. Attendees will learn how to: (1) manage the fear of public speaking, (2) develop a compelling story, (3) navigate the three most important parts of a presentation, and (4) win the crowd over
New Research Initiative at the UMass Center: You are invited to the launch of the UMass Center at Springfield’s first research program. On Thursday, June 9 stop by the Center for The Healthy Development Initiative (HDI) Open House. Learn about the research studies being conducted in the Center, meet the team, hear from experts and enjoy light refreshments. The Open House is from 11am-2pm.
HDI is a Springfield-based research program sponsored by the UMass Amherst Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. The team of researchers is led by Dr. Kirby Deater-Deckard. Before joining UMass Amherst earlier this year, Dr. Deater-Deckard served on the faculty at Virginia Tech and the University of Oregon. He studies how we develop individual characteristics from early childhood through adulthood. His collaborative research focuses on families, communities and cultures, and tests how environmental factors interact with biological factors to influence outcome. Learn more about HDI by visiting www.healthydevelopment.org.
Westfield Bank at Tower Square Introduces WWMIG Advisor
WWMIG Financial Advisor
Gilberto Josh Sotolongo
works at the Westfield Bank
branch at Tower Square.
Long before he joined Westfield Wealth Management & Insurance Group (WWMIG), Gilberto Josh Sotolongo always loved numbers. This abiding interest led him to study mathematics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and UMass-Amherst, and to spend time as a math and finance educator. It’s his keen appreciation of what numbers can represent for people’s hopes and dreams—coupled with a teacher’s ability to listen, understand, and communicate—that makes him such an effective Financial Services Representative for WWMIG.
Based at Tower Square, Josh is part of a team of advisors that offers a high-quality array of investment planning, financial planning, insurance, and corporate benefits solutions. WWMIG combines the expertise of Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services—a general agency of MassMutual Life Insurance Company—with the local banking experience of Westfield Bank. Like the rest of the team, Josh possesses both financial acumen and deeply rooted local experience. He represents an organization that delivers the assurance of an established financial company with the easy access and personal attention of a community bank.
A MassMutual Leaders Conference achiever who has been recognized as demonstrating the traits needed to build a successful financial services practice, Josh focuses on ensuring his clients understand the strategies he helps them implement. Fluent in English and Spanish, he’s an avid outdoorsman, chess player, and multi-instrument musician—playing saxophone, guitar, piano and percussion.
The Westfield Bank branch at Tower Square is located on street level.