A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

My Photo
Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Artist Square Group Gallery in Tower Square

When I was a kid growing up in the Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield, "downtown" was a magical word. Thursday evenings my mother would sometimes take my sister and me on the bus to Forbes and Wallace (the big department store), Peerless, Brigham's, Johnson's Bookstore...even the bank was exciting, marble and imposing, with a guard who would slip us each a Hershey's kiss while our mother was at the teller's window. Dinner on the twirly stools in the Meridian cafeteria, or the very proper Top o' the Town restaurant, then home on the Dickinson or Dickinson/Elwood bus to inspect our treasures. On other occasions, I discovered the Canton Restaurant, the Capitol, Bijou, and Paramount Theaters, the Christian Science Reading Room, the Nuttie Goodie Tea Room, and Symphony Hall.

Then I grew up and moved away, the malls came, and downtown sort of died. Forbes, Steigers, and many of the smaller, elegant brick buildings were torn down. All the theaters closed. Kennedy Fried Chicken, Subway and Sneaker World moved in. Plenty of people worked downtown, but then fled home. Restaurants and shops couldn't lure very many of them back.

Now I'm back in Springfield, living right downtown, and witnessing a bit of a renaissance. The Falcons hockey team, the MassMutual Center, and Symphony Hall provide entertainment and culture. Looks like the Paramount/Hippodrome is reopening. Theodore's has great no-cover live blues and rock shows, plus great food...even my recent visitor from Mississippi gave it two thumbs up.And the art scene just got a boost with Tracy Woods's new venture, Artist Square Group Gallery in Tower Square, opening soon.

I was down there today and Tracy was setting up with photographer friend Morocco Flowers helping out. Several artists have signed on, others have shown interest but not yet signed a contract, and there's room for a few more. Artists in all media are welcome. The gallery has a great location, upstairs across from the food court and next to non-profit Valley Photo Center's gallery.

Tower Square Management Team has pitched in to help, and law firm Bacon Wilson, P.C. donated services, too. The governor is championing this venture, as well he should. There's plenty of art being produced in Springfield and all throughout the Pioneer Valley, as well as a bigger market for it than most people realize.

Tower Square's food court is mobbed at lunchtime, but pretty much deserted the rest of the day. A number of storefronts are empty, and it's a shame. The one place everybody can get to with public transportation is downtown. Tower Square is a nice, convenient space and is underutilized. The Artist Square gallery will give people one more reason to visit.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article, thank you so much. You are a champion for downtown and the arts. Dont forget to clean out your closet and other spaces and bring in your high class trash for high class antiques.

9:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home