Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District Enlivens Storefronts with Local Art

Release Date: May 17, 2022
Media Contact: Evelyn Darling, Executive Director                         
508-622-3050 x1, [email protected]

WORCESTER, MAThe Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) selected two local artists to bring new vibrancy to windows on Portland and Salem Streets in Downtown Worcester. The Worcester-based artists were selected for the BID’s call for art with the theme “Through the Glass” to create engaging window displays that enhance the pedestrian experience in the Downtown area. Both artists chose handcrafted butterflies to reflect the transformative power of change. Through physical improvements and activities, the BID has prioritized local art in its placemaking efforts to establish Downtown Worcester as a vibrant destination.

“Art engages people and brings increased activity to an area,” notes Evelyn Darling, Executive Director of the BID. “We are excited to work with local artists Sharinna Travieso and Amanda Santerre on this installment of our storefront activation program, which makes such a positive impact in our Downtown. Each window brings a sense of innovation and imagination.”

Kaleidoscope is an installation about togetherness,” says artist Amanda Santerre. “The butterflies are a visual representation of what is capable when we come together as a community.” Santerre involved the Worcester community in sourcing the colorful butterflies for the display, provided free materials for anyone wanting to participate, and coordinated with three local businesses, C.C. Lowell Art Supply, Burncoat Center for Arts and Wellness, and Tidepool Books, to serve as drop-off points. This effort was so successful that each butterfly was created by a different person. Santerre remarked, “Within the hundreds of butterflies, each one is unique, and they represent coming together and creating the strong community that I believe Worcester has.”

Sharinna Travieso says her piece, titled Butterfly Effect, is inspired by her love for nature and passion to create eco-friendly art that stimulates the community. “For those who look through the glass, this piece is a reminder that even the smallest changes we make can affect who we are and how we overcome our fears and doubts, which appear smaller the higher we rise above them. From afar, you see a word surrounded by floating colors, but up close the butterflies serve as a delicate reminder of the beauty of life and nature.”

The art installations will be on display through the summer in two storefronts in the Portland on The Grid complex that spans Portland and Salem Streets. MG2 Group, the building's owner, agreed to provide access to its empty storefront windows at 26 Portland Street. The Salem Street location is being hosted by the organization BAMSI’s (Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc.) New Start Brain Injury Community Center at 15 Salem Street. Each storefront is illuminated at night, providing continual access to these colorful window displays and creating a new visual experience for those living, working, and visiting Downtown Worcester. 

“We’re pleased to be hosting Downtown Worcester BID’s latest storefront art installation,” notes The Grid’s property manager Scott Johnson. “These windows will enliven the Downtown experience not only for our own residents but for everyone working, visiting, or living here, while also showcasing local artists. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support the BID’s ongoing placemaking efforts.”

This year’s window display initiative is the latest installment of the BID’s storefront activation program. In the spring of 2021, the BID worked with five different artists/artist groups who responded to a call for art titled “Downtown Reemerging” to create window displays in vacant storefronts at 526 Main Street and 403 Main Street. In the fall of 2020, the BID worked with The Menkiti Group and several local artists to install a multi-faceted art exhibit in the storefront windows at 554 Main Street. 

This window display project is supported, in part, by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.


About Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District
Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District is a non-profit 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.