Student's look on as they speak with Susan Mara, the Assistant Director of Planning, about the project.

Local Students React to Final Designs

At the core of NEA Our Town grant projects is the mission of engaging the community. Since Winter 2015 project staff and city planners have been visiting with upperclass arts students at Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Seniors and Juniors from Chris Kane’s Sculpture class engaged in dialogue about the many forms of public art, met the three artist finalists and even showed their own artwork to these artists. Conversations has touched on both the logistical aspects of making large-scale artwork and the artists’ personal stories, challenges and points of inquiry about a young person in Pawtucket.

Each time we step into this classroom setting the project gets more real. These young people have walked the bridge, driven over it and really understand some of the ways that the highway divides the neighborhoods. Artist Suikang Zhao impressed upon the class that he feels a very authentic, exciting energy here in Pawtucket which is hard for bigger cities like his home of New York to match.