Art & Soles is the result of a collaboration between the Greater Springfield-UMass Amherst Partnership, the Springfield Business Improvement District and TSM Design, a Springfield-based ad agency. These three organizations came together during a discussion around the notion that art can change perceptions about public spaces.
According to Maryann Lombardi, Director, Creative Economy, UMass Amherst, “UMass Amherst couldn’t be more excited about this collaboration. It’s a strong example of what the Partnership is all about.”
The medium – fiberglass sculpture – has made its way to cities all over the U.S. Remember the cows in Chicago? So what’s in store for Springfield? Twenty 5-foot sneakers will serve as the canvas for 20 artists whose proposals best answer the question: What makes Springfield great? Judges include Holly Smith-Bove, Springfield Museums, Loretta Yarlow, UMass Amherst University Gallery, and Rosemary Woods, a local gallery owner. A stipend of $500 and $250 materials allowance will be paid to the 20 winning artists.
According to Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, “This is a terrific idea for the City of Springfield in that it will highlight many downtown businesses and attractions. It will help with the city's economic revitalization as it brings people to Springfield to view these art pieces.” He extends his thanks and appreciation to the Springfield Business Improvement District, TSM Design and UMass Amherst for their commitment to this public art project.
According to Don Courtemanche, Executive Director of the BID, “This is exactly the type of project we need to encourage foot traffic through our beautiful downtown. The sneakers will be strategically placed to encourage visitors to view the art and get familiar with businesses in the area.”Area businesses and organizations will have an opportunity to step up and sponsor a sneaker. There are a number of high profile media opportunities and public events that will be offered as sponsor benefits. The sneakers will go on display throughout downtown prior to 2010 Enshrinement festivities and remain until late October. A gala celebration is also planned during which the 20 sneakers will be auctioned for charity.
“The timeline for the project”, according to TSM Design’s Nancy Urbschat, “is pretty aggressive. Our mold guy told us these projects generally take seven or eight months. He’s fast-tracking our sneakers and will deliver finished forms to Springfield by June 28. That’s when the fun will really begin!”
Anyone who is interested in receiving an Artist Prospectus should email Pat@tsmdesign.com.