Artists Transform Downtown Storefronts as Part of Larger Planning Initiative
For Immediate Release: September 1, 2020
Media Contact:
Evelyn Darling, Executive Director                                     
508-622-3050 x1,

Worcester, Massachusetts – Over the past few days several local artists filled the storefront windows of 554 Main Street across from the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts with interactive public art installations. The temporary art exhibition is part of a larger initiative coordinated by the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) to engage the public in planning for beautification, public art and placemaking in Downtown Worcester. The site, owned by The Meniti Group, soon will be home to neighborhood-serving retail and commercial office space.

The BID is seeking broad public participation in a survey to gain insight into people’s experiences downtown and ideas for how the area could be enlivened during the pandemic and beyond. The 10-15 minute survey is in both English and Spanish. Five lucky survey respondents will win a $100 gift card to a Downtown Worcester BID retail business or restaurant of their choice.

The public art installation draws on the survey by creatively engaging the public. The center storefront features a rotating wooden mandala illuminated with LED lights by Ivy Orth of LunoSol Design, a Worcester-based international decor artist. Her intricate design is meant to invoke a spirit of community and showcase the placemaking project. Four other Worcester artists—Joshua Croke, Eamon Gillen, Pamela Stolz and John Vo—filled the adjacent windows with art illustrating four of the survey questions. Over the course of the next several months, these four artists will create window displays for the remaining two phases of the project to update the public on the survey responses and to highlight the outcomes of the planning process.

“We’re very excited to launch our placemaking planning project with local artists’ help,” said Evelyn Darling, Executive Director of the Downtown Worcester BID. “Their eye-catching, interactive artwork will help us to engage more people in our plans to foster a unique destination downtown.”

The partners for this project are the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District; The Menkiti Group; the Worcester PopUp at the JMAC, a program of the Worcester Cultural Coalition in partnership with the Hanover Theatre; and the planning firm Civic Space Collaborative.

The site at 554 Main Street, owned by The Menkiti Group, provides opportunities for neighborhood-serving retail and commercial office space, reinforcing the district’s plan for creation of a bustling mixed-use hub of cultural activity. From privately leased space to collaborative multi-level shared space memberships, 554 Main offers a variety of solutions for businesses in the Worcester community to thrive.

Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District is a nonprofit organization established in 2018 to sustain momentum in the heart of Downtown Worcester. The result of a comprehensive community-based effort, the organization represents the owners of 140 properties and seeks to create a unique sense of place through enhanced investment and development, establishing and sustaining a vibrant, welcoming, and economically viable district for all.

For more information on the Downtown Worcester Placemaking Plan, please visit here.