Easthampton seeks proposals for public art project

  • A concert at Millside Park in Easthampton in 2018. A new project in the city aims to add a public art installation to nearby Ferry Street to help welcome people to the park. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • A runner on the Manhan Rail Trail near Millside Park. A new project in the city aims to add a public art installation to nearby Ferry Street to help welcome people to the park. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/26/2021 11:11:12 AM

EASTHAMPTON — It was once a site for hunting and fishing for Native Americans. In the 1800s, and well into the 20th century, it became a setting for mills and factories that made use of nearby ponds and waterways for their operations.

What’s now the intersection of Ferry, Pleasant, and Lovefield streets is the site for a proposed public art project that’s aimed at helping welcome visitors to nearby Millside Park and the area’s restored mill buildings, home today to a variety of small businesses and artists’ studios.

The Ferry Street Gateway to the Mills initiative seeks to build what Easthampton City Arts, the project’s lead sponsor, calls a “pocket park” at the Ferry Street entryway to Millside Park, which would include an original public sculpture, seating, signage, and an artist-designed and fabricated bike rack.

ECA is seeking proposals for the project, for which the selected artist would receive a $5,000 honorarium to cover all costs, including design fees, materials, fabrication, transportation, and installation.

Half of the honorarium will be given to the selected artist when the artist contract is signed, with the balance paid following installation of the sculpture.

The deadline for proposals is Sept. 1. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and can be from anywhere, though priority will be given to local and regional applicants.

ECA has collaborated with the Realtor Association of the Pioneer Valley on the project, which has been funded by a number of organizations, including the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and Easthampton’s Planning Department.

Pasqualina Azzarello, Eastampton’s art coordinator, notes that the Ferry Street site is ideal for a public art project, as it’s a natural entry point to Millside Park, which draws thousands of people annually, both through regular use of the park and the Manhan Rail Trail and for outdoor concerts, performances, and film screenings.

Artists would need to design a sculpture to fit on a 4’ x 4’ concrete footpad, and they’re also asked to “acknowledge and honor the complex and integrated histories of this location” when crafting their design.

For further details, and to apply for the project, visit easthamptoncityarts.com, where applications can be made online. They can also be mailed to Easthampton City Arts, 50 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, MA 01027 ATTN: Ferry Street Gateway to the Mills.

A finalist is expected to be announced in October.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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