Art in Decatur WAY, Lowell

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I’ve been working with the City of Lowell and CDM Smith engineers to create art for their Decatur WAY project in Lowell, a beautiful new walkway in what had been a bit of an eyesore alley behind the historic Cote’s Market, connecting UMass Lowell with Decatur Street. The whole thing was done at the behest of the Wastewater Authority, using their right-of-way to add stormwater handling: in this case a cool new Pervious Concrete walkway and plantings that will soak up rainwater. Read more on the project page here.

Rain Art

Using the Water theme we decided to take advantage of a new technology, using an industrial super-hydrophobic coating to stencil a collection of water animals that will magically appear only when it rains!

Carp rain art for Lowell's Decatur Way

And here was my how-to video done when testing the technique early this spring.

 

Art blooms along the path

I’ve designed a set of signage welcoming visitors and explaining the project, and they’ve given me the ability to add art to the pavement, and a wall near the entrance! There will be more art contributed by the high school and other groups, and the whole thing is a great model of city departments, artists and neighborhood groups coming together to make things better.

My uniting idea, besides water and its relationship with Lowell of course, has been the growth and beauty they’re trying to add through letting the water help things grow there; and the bringing together of the neighborhood. I’ve taken flower designs from folk art/ art history of some of the main cultural groups that have contributed to the neighborhood’s character through the years, and woven them together into a flower garden theme.

Some previews of the visual treats you will encounter here and there along the sidewalk:

phkar chan Khmer ornament

A flower-based traditional Khmer architectural ornament

Canadian maple leaves behind Cote's Market

Maple leaves, for the neighborhood’s earlier wave of immigrants, the French Canadian mill workers of the 1800’s.

 

 

Signage:

Welcome sign to be placed at the Salem Street entrance, showing more of the flower theme, and the project’s motto created by the city and CDM Smith.

decatur-welcome-sign

 

Much more to come soon, including a wall about water, Lowell, and the history of the mills.

Grand Opening event and ribbon cutting will be Thursday June 2, starting at 2 in the afternoon.