Downtown Worcester BID and Worcester Public Library Team Up for Large-Scale Public Art & Lighting Project on Salem Street
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2022
Media Contacts:
Lisa Malo, Marketing & Communications Manager       
Downtown Worcester BID                            
508-622-3050 x4, [email protected]

Linnea Sheldon, Community Relations & Communications Manager
Worcester Public Library
508-799-1654, [email protected]

WORCESTER, MAThe Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with the Worcester Public Library and Worcester Public Library Foundation, has been awarded a $15,000 MassDevelopment Commonwealth Places seed grant for a large-scale public art and lighting project at the library’s Main Branch building along Salem Street.

The project will bring together community groups to create an art installation featuring the Worcester Public Library’s tagline: “You Belong Here!”

“Following the Main Library’s $13.1 million renovation that relocated our front entrance to Franklin Street, we are thrilled to now partner with the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District on this community-centered public art and lighting project that will activate, enliven, and brighten Salem Street,” said Worcester Public Library Executive Director Jason Homer.

“The Worcester Public Library is a place that enriches our diverse community,” added Christine Murray, Executive Director of the Worcester Public Library Foundation. “The Foundation is proud to support this exciting public art and lighting project that aims to deepen the connection all community members feel with the space.”

"The Worcester Public Library’s expansive façade on Salem Street is the perfect canvas for a large-scale public art and lighting installation,” said Downtown Worcester BID Executive Director Evelyn Darling. “Salem Street is also an important pedestrian corridor in Downtown Worcester. In survey after survey, and reflected in several Downtown plans, enhanced lighting has been a long-desired goal for this area. The BID is here to make those desires a reality, alongside great community partners like the Worcester Public Library and Foundation.”

Grant funds will be used for the first phase of the project, which will include hiring an artist facilitator to implement an inclusive community engagement project to develop the themes and designs. The artist facilitator will collaborate with community members to conceptualize and design artwork for each letter of the library tagline (You Belong Here!). The letters will then be fabricated into materials that will be displayed on the library façade and lit with LED lighting.

"The BID’s vision is for a Downtown Worcester where everyone feels not only welcome but also connected, seen, and safe,” Darling said. “Working together with the library, community members, and artists on the ‘You Belong Here!’ public art and lighting project is an opportunity to share that vision.”

The first phase of the project will begin in December 2022 with the recruitment and hiring of the artist facilitator. Outreach to solicit participation in the creation of the artwork will follow in early 2023. Fabrication of the artwork and installation of LED lighting is expected to begin in 2024, following securing additional funding sources.

About Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District
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.

About the Worcester Public Library
The Worcester Public Library (WPL) serves as a gathering place that actively promotes the free exchange of ideas in our democratic society. The Library makes information and services available to all people while fostering intellectual freedom, protecting privacy, encouraging personal growth and enrichment, and celebrating our diverse community heritage. The Main Library is located in downtown Worcester, with six additional branch locations around the city, and two mobile libraries servicing our neighborhoods.

About the Worcester Public Library Foundation
Established in 2003, the Worcester Public Library Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that was formed by a group of engaged citizens who recognized the need for private support to sustain and enhance the resources and services available through our public library system. WPLF’s mission is to enhance the visibility of the Worcester Public Library, and to raise public and private funds to ensure its continued vitality. The Board of Trustees and the many individuals, corporations, and local foundations that support the Library Foundation each bring a commitment to the library’s vision of being a welcoming destination and a leading provider of resources to inform, enlighten and enrich our diverse community.