Greenfield group looking for artist to paint crosswalk

Recorder/Paul Franz
The crosswalk at Court Square in Greenfield  is headed for a makeover.

Recorder/Paul Franz The crosswalk at Court Square in Greenfield is headed for a makeover. Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The town’s “green” group is looking for an artist who will paint the crosswalk between the Arts Block and the Town Common with a scene that portrays the spirit of Greenfield, and brings a smile to those who cross over it each day.

A five-member subcommittee of Greening Greenfield, its Paint the Town Green Committee, has put a request for proposals to artists who will spearhead the project, which will create a “playful, fun, colorful” crosswalk at the edge of the town’s weekly seasonal farmers market.

Sandra Boston, one of the subcommittee’s members, said she was inspired by the painted crosswalk that spans Avenue A at the corner of Third Street. That project was completed last summer.

Lahri Bond of Lake Pleasant won the RiverCulture program’s competition for an artistic crosswalk with his design of outsized native fish weaving through the frames of a film ribbon. The design incorporated local fish and hyper-local history, with the film component a nod to the nearby Shea Theater’s past as a cinema and the Hallmark Institute of Photography’s gallery on that corner.

Boston said she hopes artists think of the Greenfield project in the same way and incorporate Greenfield’s rich history with all that is going on now.

Boston and Karen Shapiro Miller, a Precinct 8 town councilor and subcommittee member, said the artist must live or work in Greenfield and must be 16 years old or older.

The artist will be paid a $750 stipend to spearhead the project. It will be his or her idea, said Boston, but a small group will help the artist, who will offer guidance.

Boston said the money to pay the artist will come from a Greenfield Local Cultural Council grant.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Boston. “The town is so full of artists and people who love to play. We shouldn’t have any problems finding people who are interested.”

Shapiro Miller said painting the crosswalk will fit with the town officials, residents and businesses that have been working on a creative economy for Greenfield. She said public art is typically of interest to everyone who lives in a community.

“Public art makes a community more attractive and lively,” said Shapiro Miller. “It’s something everyone can care for and it really brings out the spirit of a community.”

Boston said when she sees public art in different towns and cities, it makes her feel that people must really love living there.

The two women said the subcommittee does not want to stop at the crosswalk at the farmers market, but instead would like to continue to apply for grants and hire artists to paint other sidewalks throughout town.

They said they’d love to see local students and teachers get involved in painting crosswalks near the town’s schools.

Boston said with the $1,000 grant the group just received, it will pay the artist and use the rest to buy extra paint for future touch-ups.

The crosswalk is 36-feet across and 6- to 8-feet wide and spans Court Square along Main Street. The crosswalk will be painted with highway-grade paints, which are available in red, yellow, blue, white and black. Sherwin-Williams has donated the paint.

The subcommittee said artists should keep in mind that the crosswalk is located near historic buildings, and where outdoor concerts, community meals and numerous festivals take place each year.

Artists must submit designs by midnight on April 10. They should be submitted in jpg format to: publicartgreenfield@gmail.com.

The subcommittee will choose three finalists, who will be asked to prepare more detailed designs for the final selection.

The design will have to be approved by the mayor and the town’s public works department.

Submissions will go to someone who will choose the finalists or, eventually, the winner, so the artists will be kept anonymous until the end.

There are no restrictions on theme or subject, except that the winning design should reflect the “spirit of the town in a lively, welcoming way,” said Boston.

For more information, call Boston at 413-774-5952 or visit: www.publicartgreenfield.wordpress.com.

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