Plaza Construction, Art Installations Begin on Main Street

 by TWIW StaffNovember 8, 2021

WORCESTER - Construction of Francis R. Carroll Plaza outside Hanover Theatre, at 2 Southbridge Street, is underway and installation of public art pieces along the North Main Street corridor starts next week as part of a reconfiguration of Main Street, according to Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus.

Called “Worcester’s Main Street Reimagined,” the plan features bicycle lanes, widened sidewalks and new streetscapes similar to other recently completed street upgrades in downtown Worcester. The City intends to supplement the streetscape with custom, public art installations to activate public space and develop interest through both functional and decorative elements.

Carroll Plaza outside Hanover Theatre is a $3.1 million project that includes a seating area and a raised stage for performances arranged by Hanover Theatre, feature plantings and festoon lights. It also includes a public art installation, titled “Calliope,” by Ross Miller, composed of stainless steel and LED lights.

The plan includes six other art installations in the area. Those installations begin next week.

“Flat Curves,” by Jennifer Rubin Gray, set for installation at 526 Main Street, represents the corset developed by the Royal Worcester Corset Company. The company, founded in 1861, moved to 30 Wyman Street in 1895 and later became one of the city’s largest employers.

“Esther Howland Bench,” by Gianna Steward, planned for installation at the left corner of City Hall, is in honor of Esther Howland, an artist born in Worcester who popularized the Valentine’s Day card. Howland started selling valentines through father’s stationery store in Worcester.

“Wrench Bench,” by Bartek Konieczny, recognizing the invention of the “monkey wrench” by Worcester native Loring Coes in 1840. Coes later successfully ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

“Guitar,” by Jose Criollo Guncay, planned for installation at 288 Main Street, celebrates Worcester’s musical heritage

“The Speaker’s Stand,” by Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier, draws inspiration from 19th-century Worcester abolitionist and suffragist Abby Kelley Foster, representing the voices of women committed to social justice and equality for all women.

“A Perfect Jump,” by Seth Hoffman, Laura Marotta and Penn Ruderman, due for installation after winter at 120 Main Street to the right of Armsby Abbey, is a bike rack in honor of Worcester-resident and world-champion cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor.

The City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Office and Department of Public Works & Parks, in partnership with the Worcester Cultural Coalition, have been working with the Public Art Working Group (PAWG) to incorporate the arts, place-making, and Worcester’s cultural heritage into public spaces around the City. UEL Contractors, Inc., is constructing Carroll Plaza.

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