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Touching Base: Pawtucket’s Public Art Profile

Art Bridges Pawtucket announcement postcard graphic by Design Agency.


By Suzanne Volmer

The City of Pawtucket, Rhode Island recently launched ArtBridgesPawtucket.org to stimulate dialogue about the city’s changing infrastructure. As a conversation starter, it brings city planning concepts into focus to further encourage participation in the innovation process.

Susan Mara, assistant director of the City of Pawtucket’s Office of Planning and Redevelopment, wrote the Our Town Grant proposal that successfully secured $75,000 in National Endowment of the Arts funding for the city’s purchase of public art in 2014. That amount has now been matched locally by combining city resources with private grant support.

When interviewed, Mara spoke of Pawtucket’s intention to fulfill the National Endowment of the Art’s requirement of “artistic excellence.” Pawtucket wants transformative impact, and sees this grant as a tremendous opportunity with which to do that. The city has been judicious in its administrative decisions to ensure success by hiring a consultant, a design/identity development team and a film crew to document the process of making public art. Through intensive community outreach, Pawtucket expects to build a destination-worthy result.

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