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A portrait of the city I live in, comprised of a painting of a resident from each of Springfield's 17 unique neighborhoods.
100 backers pledged $7,222 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$7,222

100

STRETCH GOAL - $7,750!

With a week to go, we are within $300 of meeting the fundraising goal.  And that is AWESOME!  I know the time left is short, but I want to go out on a bit of a limb here and propose a stretch goal of $7,750.  That's just 4 backers choosing the new $250 stretch goal reward!  Pledging your support at any level will help get us there, I just thought it would be fun to add another reward level geared specifically towards the stretch goal!

With an additional $1,000 in funding, we could create a virtual gallery of the work online.  And the site could also be used by and for other art initiatives in the city in the future.  Ever the optimist, I've purchased the www.ArtSpringfield.com domain name for this purpose.

An online gallery for The People In Your Neighborhood means that anywhere in the world, anyone with an internet connection could see what you helped create.  And it means a lasting and easily accessible presence for the work long after the shows are over.

What do you think?  Can we do it?  I think the answer is "yes"!  Let's go, Springfield!

WHO I AM AND WHAT THIS PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT

I'm a painter living and working in Springfield, MA. For the last 7 or 8 years, most of my paintings have been commissioned work.  But lately I've been inspired by my vibrant community and feeling a need to return to painting for its own sake, rather than for hire.

Laura with Book
Laura with Book

So I'm embarking on an adventure to paint a portrait of a resident from each of the 17 neighborhoods in Springfield.  Altogether, the paintings will form a sort of portrait of the city itself.  

The prep work for this series is already under way.  It's gotten me out onto the streets in neighborhoods I don't frequently visit, connecting with people and sharing my vision.  Once someone agrees to be involved, I take their photo and collect their contact info.  I also ask them a series of questions about how long they've lived in Springfield, what brought them here if they weren't born here, how they feel about the city and their neighborhood, etc.  This Q&A session will be used to create an individual "write up" for each portrait.  Not only do I want people who view this series to see what I've been able to capture visibly in the painting, but also to have a name and a perspective to go with it.

Springfield is providing my subjects and your pledges will allow me to purchase the materials needed to create the paintings and to show them together as a series in a local art space once completed.  Potentially in multiple locations around Springfield if this project is successfully funded and the series is well received.

THE CITY - SPRINGFIELD, MA

The Neighborhoods of Springfield - see below for listing & descriptions
The Neighborhoods of Springfield - see below for listing & descriptions

Nicknamed "The City of Homes", and the third-largest city in Massachusetts, this historic area is struggling both economically and culturally.  My hope for this project is that it brings people from different neighborhoods together, starts conversations, and gets people engaged with the local art community, and art in general, in a personal way. 

I believe in art as a catalyst for rebirth and I see individuals and organizations here fighting to find footholds and help revitalize Springfield.  To really be a force for positive change, it's important that people see art as being both accessible and relatable.  What better way than to make them and their neighborhoods part of the art itself?

All the subjects and their families (and maybe you - see the rewards on the right-hand side of the page) will be invited to a special celebration before the initial show's opening night.  Once the exhibition(s) is over, I will donate the series to the city.

However, I can't make this project a reality without your help!

YOUR PLEDGES AT WORK

Funds raised will be used for:

1.  Art supplies: paint, canvas, gesso, brushes, etc.

2.  Photography costs to provide quality reference photos that I will be working from

4.  Framing and hanging supplies - one of the hidden costs of putting on an art show

5.  Marketing for the show: designing and printing of postcards, taking out ads in local papers, etc.

6.  Insurance for the paintings

7.  Creating and delivering your rewards!

THE NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Bay – features Blunt Park. In terms of demographics, Bay is primarily African American.
  • Boston Road – features the Eastfield Mall. Primarily commercial in character.
  • Brightwood – features numerous Baystate Health specialty buildings.
  • East Forest Park – features Cathedral High School. Primarily upper-middle class residential in character.
  • East Springfield – features Smith & Wesson and the Performance Food Group. Residential and working-class in character.
  • Forest Park – features Frederick Law Olmsted's renowned 735 acres (3.0 km2) Forest Park and the Forest Park Heights Historic District, (established 1975). Residential in character, featuring a commercial district at "The X" and an upper-class garden district surrounding Olmsted's park.
  • Indian Orchard – features a well-defined Main Street and historic mill buildings that have become artists' spaces. Formerly a suburb of Springfield, Indian Orchard developed separately as a milltown on the Chicopee River before joining Springfield.
  • Liberty Heights – features Springfield's three nationally ranked hospitals: Baystate Health, Mercy Medical, and Shriner's Children's Hospital. Primarily residential and medical in character, it features a demographically diverse population.
  • The McKnight Historic District – features the Knowledge Corridor's largest array of historic, Victorian architecture, including over 900 Painted Ladies. Primarily residential in character, McKnight was the United States' first planned residential neighborhood.In terms of demographics, McKnight features significant populations of African American and LGBT residents.
  • Memorial Square – features the North End's commercial district.
  • Metro Center – features nearly all major cultural venues in the region. Commercial, cultural, civic, and increasingly residential in character. Features the Downtown Business District, The Club Quarter – with over 60 clubs, restaurants, and bars – numerous festivals, cultural institutions, educational institutions, and significant historic sites.
  • Old Hill – features Springfield College. Residential in character. Bordering Lake Massasoit. Old Hill is primarily Latino.[32]
  • Pine Point – features the headquarters of MassMutual, a Fortune 100 company. Primarily middle-class and residential in character.
  • Six Corners – features Mulberry Street in the Ridgewood Historic District (established 1977;)the Lower Maple Historic District (established 1977;) and the Maple Hill Historic District, (established 1977). Urban and residential in character.
  • Sixteen Acres – features Western New England University and SABIS International School. Suburban in character.
  • South End – features numerous Italian-American restaurants, festivals, and landmarks. Urban and commercial in character, this neighborhood was hard hit by the June 1, 2011 tornado.
  • Upper Hill – features Wesson Park. Bordering Lake Massasoit. Residential in character. Located between Springfield College and American International College.

(These descriptions have been primarily borrowed from Wikipedia)

Risks and challenges

One of the biggest challenges with this project will be creating 17 paintings in just over a year's time. Like many artists, I'm a perfectionist and it can get in my way. But I also know that I work well under pressure and I never fail to meet a deadline. With my timeline and a goal that I'm so excited about, I know I'll be able to meet whatever challenges this project has in store for me.

I also may run into some snags with finding individuals from each neighborhood who are interested and/or willing to being involved. But I'll approach this aspect of the project from every possible angle until I succeed. Word of mouth, posting fliers, walking through the neighborhoods and talking to residents - I'll do whatever needs to be done until I have my 17 subjects. I've already begun taking my reference photographs - some people have accepted and some have respectfully declined. The strength of my belief in this project and the ability to communicate my vision for it will help me see it through.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you for helping to support community-focused art! You will get a nice, shiny postcard from the show with a little note from me and my eternal gratitude for your help in making this idea a reality.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    To thank you for your help in making this series possible, you will receive a postcard for the show with a personal message from me, as well as access to photos taken at the show's opening night so that you can see the end result of your contribution!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thank you for your generosity! You will receive a print of the portrait of your choice from the finished series, as well as access to photos taken at the show's opening night.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    What a doll! You'll receive a framed print of your choice from the series, an original sketch by yours truly, and access to photos from the show's opening night!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    In recognition of your wonderful support, you'll receive a signed and framed print of one of the portraits from the series, an invitation to an exclusive pre-show-opening party, and access to photos taken at the show's opening night. Please note that the venue for the show is TBD, but will be located somewhere in Springfield, MA.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    STRETCH GOAL REWARD! For the select few who pledge $250 towards the stretch goal, I'll be creating a hard cover book which will chronicle the "making of" The People In Your Neighborhood. It will include candid shots in the studio, photos of some of the paintings in different stages of completion, some of the original reference photos, my own personal notes about the project, and will culminate in coverage of the inaugural show. Each copy will contain a handwritten note from me to you, personally thanking you for your support. You will also receive all of the $100 level rewards. Please note that the venue for the show is TBD, but will be located somewhere in Springfield, MA.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    What an incredibly generous guy/gal! In addition to a signed and framed print of your choice, you will get an original painting for your invaluable help in making this collection happen. It may be of a location in Springfield, a study for one of the pieces in the collection, or something totally random! No matter what, it will be a one of a kind piece of art made for you with much gratitude. Plus, an invitation to an exclusive pre-show-opening party, and access to photos taken at the show's opening night. Please note that the venue for the show is TBD, but will be located somewhere in Springfield, MA.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You are THE BEST! I will create a custom portrait for you from a reference photograph. I can't thank you enough, but I can provide you with a one-of-a-kind piece of art that captures the spirit of the subject you've chosen. A custom work other than a portrait may be negotiable, if so desired. Oh, and all of the other goodies offered here, too!

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Funding period

- (35 days)