Springfield College Community Arts Lab to engage campus, community in joint venture

Nov 29 2017

SPRINGFIELDĀ — A library. A community bulletin board. A farmer’s market.

In the eyes of Jessica Poser, professor of Art and Community Engagement at Springfield College, these elements can exist as one not only as a way to engage students, but to help the area community.

By way of the Habitat for Artists collective, Poser and her students recently began work on one such project, located at 235 Eastern Ave. in Springfield.

“This building was bought by Springfield College a year ago to serve as the site of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement,” said Poser, noting that the current center is located temporarily at 385 Eastern Ave. “For now, they want to keep the site active. There’s a lot of foot traffic here. There’s a daycare. We chose this site for the project because it feels like part of the community, not the college.”

Poser, who said she has done similar projects as part of the Habitat for Artists collective in New York City, the Hudson Valley and Washington D.C., said this past Friday was the project’s kickoff, with the final product intended to serve as an important part of the neighborhood’s culture.

“I’m a faculty member at the college. The students are the ones putting it together. One thing that seems to be lacking is this sense of community engagement. So, there is going to be a bulletin board, a free library, and we’ve realized this neighborhood is a food island, so we want to provide access to fresh vegetables and a farmer’s market,” she said, adding that similar projects have been constructed with recycled materials and challenge artists to find new ways to engage in creative work.

Poser said that the building, which will serve as both an art installation for students and community resource, is a work-in-progress designed to be sustained by way of word-of-mouth within the area community and will eventually feature an on-site bike shop courtesy of Springfield College.

“It’s walking distance from the college, but a very different demographic. But people share so many of the same interests. It will become much more beautiful as we go. It’s going to take some time, and some word-of-mouth, but we just want to get involved. We want to see what interests people,” she said.




Jun 2024