This June, nine new brightly-painted murals have begun creating a dynamic outdoor art gallery in downtown Springfield. One of the murals “Victory” was organized by UMass Extension Assistant professor Michael DiPasquale as a way to activate vacant and “leftover” spaces in the city. Professor DiPasquale has been working on similar initiatives in Springfield for almost 10 years as part of his research related to the revitalization of America’s “Legacy Cities”, the country’s once thriving manufacturing centers.
As a community partner in June’s citywide “Fresh Paint Springfield” mural project, DiPasquale collaborated with Fresh Paint Springfield founder Britt Ruhe and Springfield artists Priya Nadkarni (UMass Amherst MFA 2014) and Andrae Green, who designed and painted the mural on the side of a parking garage on Taylor Street.
In addition to funds provided by “Fresh Paint Springfield”, the new mural was supported by a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
DiPasquale and his students have been involved with the mural project for over a year. UMass sophomore and Springfield resident Briyanna Henry worked with DiPasquale as a 2019 Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment Summer Scholar to perform research that evaluates the social and economic impact of the mural festival. This included conducting user surveys at various stages of this effort, working with UMass PhD student Lara Furtado.
DiPasquale says, “This outdoor gallery will encourage people to go beyond a single destination to explore and enjoy the entire Springfield arts and restaurant district.”