289 Derby Design+Build Collaboration

BAC Students met local community representatives: Kylie Sullivan – Salem Main Streets, Hannah – SSU MA Student, John Andrews – Creative Salem, Deborah Greel – Public Art Planner, Barbara Warren – Salem Sound Coastwatch, Matt Buchanan – YMCA and Salem GreenSpace

289 Derby Street will become Salem’s newest public space in 2018 – a waterfront park! The primary design has been completed by CBA Landscape Architects based on a collaboration with local communities that unfolded over five weeks of Community Design Events in early summer 2017, let by Salem Public Space Project and Creative Salem. That is exciting in itself. But equally exciting is the opportunity to get involved in more collaborative design based on community feedback.

BAC Students at CBA Landscape Architects studio with principal Clara Batchelor explaining the plan details

Mass in Motion and Salem Public Space Project have enlisted Boston Architectural College students to design and build a public space project that continues the dialogue of community driven design. The students’ proposed project will:

    • address community desires that were outside the scope of the primary park design
    • engage with the new park design
    • engage with Mass in Motion priorities of health, well-being, and active lifestyle.

We are at the beginning stages and welcome more collaborators! BAC students have visited the offices of CBA Landscape Architects to understand the park design. Last week, BAC students met with local stakeholder representatives who could attend and bring to life some of the priorities.

BAC and Phoenix Students meet, conduct site analysis, and discuss potential design collaboration

In addition to these parameters, BAC students will also collaborate with students from the Phoenix School who are embarking on a yearlong project to use “bottle bricks” to bring awareness to plastic waste. The students all met on site last week and began their site analysis through observation, sketches, and dialogue.

A lot of the design possibilities are based on what we already learned from community desires over the summer placemaking process, and the potential partnerships, such as with Phoenix School and Salem Y GreenSpace.

We will continue updates of progress, and welcome more collaborators – just contact us!

The Public Art Salon: Bees!

Color the honey bee and support the bill!

Join us for The Public Art Salon on Thursday 27 and support Bee Positive Legislation! We’ll have postcards available to color, personalize, and mail in support of MA State bills that limit neonicotinoids!

We will be joined by Beverly Bees for a Hive Demonstration at (around) 4:30 to learn about bees, and bee-positive legislation and actions!

We will also be:

  • Building the Community Table
  • Making Mosaics
  • Painting
  • Face Art
  • Designing the Reading Nook
  • Making Friends!

Learn more about the effects of neonicotinoids and the proposed bills below:

If you can’t join us this Thursday – contact your rep to support House Bill H.2113 / Senate Bill SD.2236 and find out more: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H2113

The Public Art Salon: A Community Table on Artists’ Row

Circle collage illustrating a variety of mosaic possibilities – plants, bark, stones, ceramic, shells, colors. Each participant can craft their own circle, and integrate it into the larger collective artwork.

What is Artists’ Row?

Artists’ Row is a pedestrian way in the heart of Salem defined by several small shed buildings where artists practice their craft and sell their handiwork. The Row has been a creative space for artists and ‘creative entrepreneurs’ to incubate their work and establish an audience. Creative and spontaneous, the Row is an underrated place in Salem. Come see the artists working daily on their craft – and support this local work!

Artist Row before the new color transformation

The summer of 2017 brings lots of changes to the Row. In the spring, students from Lesley University College of Art and Design, led by local graphic designer Rick Rawlins, designed a comprehensive aesthetic vision for the Row: inspired by the nautical history, and complementing the color of the green metal roofs, the buildings would serve as a background to frame the artists’ work and don a soothing gray. The color also helps frame the spaces between the buildings – the nooks – that could become intimate spaces for reading, crafting, or simply sitting. Finally, “Artists’ Row” would then be stenciled onto the buildings in bright colors to orient visitors. We’re in the middle of this transformation: the large picture windows showcasing the work, for instance at Boston Woodturning and ZBY Gallery – help bring the inside artistry outside.

Inter-generational, drop-in friendly workshops for all skill levels where participants contribute artwork for a large community piece.

What is the Artist in Residence Program on Artists’ Row?

The Public Art Commission and the Mayor’s Office has also launched a new Artist in Residence program on the Row.

The Artist in Residence Pilot Program seeks to bring the Salem community into the creative process through participatory project-based activities for all ages at Artists’ Row. Of particular interest are placemaking programs that help residents and visitors re-imagine public spaces as places to play, engage, and create. Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share.

I am grateful to be part of the pilot program and hopefully help establish an ongoing Artist Residency on the Row.

The Public Art Salon creates a safe environment for self-and-collective expression while making friends and talking about community.

What is the Public Art Salon?

The Public Art Salon program I developed as Artist in Residence in Four Corners, Dorchester in 2015-16 is a good fit for Artists’ Row. The Public Art Salon is a place-and-project-based weekly workshop in which the local community helps to create a community driven projects. This is a wonderful excuse to make friends, incubate local talent, and make art together. I am excited to develop the Public Art Salon on Aritsts’ Row!

Preparatory work for the community table using pallets and sap buckets.

What is the Community Table for People and Pollinators?

The Row is a linear plaza that is too often used for walking through, rather than for staying. Establishing Artists’ Row as a destination was the main desire that arose during several meetings with the Artist Row tenants this past spring. These meetings began my research into what would be the ideal project to work on as the Row’s first Artist in Residence.

Nature collages from Salem Woods.

Materials from Artists’ Row Creative Entrepreneurs: ZBY Gallery, Boston Woodturning, Grace&Diggs, Hervor Soaps, Ceramics by Sibel, Salem Food Tours, and The Lobster Shanty

Together, we developed the idea of a Community Table:

  • To engage people to stay, we will build a Community Table
  • To engage participants in the work and world of the creative artists on the Row, we are using materials from their shops to help create the table-top surfaces.
  • To connect to nature, like the Artists’ Row artists, we will also use natural materials to decorate the table tops
  • To expand the notion of community, we will invite pollinators to the table with native plants for pollinators.
  • To reach as many people as possible, we’ll host the Salon during the Salem Farmers’ Market!
  • To help incubate young talent, we’re getting help from emerging artists and professionals:
    • Artist in Residence, Claudia Paraschiv
    • Ecological landscape design with local
      Annie Scott, thrivedesign.studio
    • Art-making with Lexiee Batakis
    • Face Art with Alison Troy @AlisonTroy
    • Reading Nook design with David Rabkin

We have had a flurry of activity during our first two Salons! Please join us at our next four! This week we will have a demonstration hive from Beverly Bees who is also at the Salem Farmers’ Market.

Week One – Meet & Mosaic!

Participants make mosaics from natural and artistic materials at the first Salon.

Salon co-hosts (left to right) Michael saws table legs, Lexiee cuts out space for the bee buckets, Alison creates Face Art


Week Two – Native Perennials with Thrive Design!

Participants help ecological designer Annie Scott plant perennial native plants for pollinators.

Lots of painting – driftwood for a vertical element, David (Wentworth Architecture Student) creates seating for the Reading Nook, and participants mix paint.

The Community Table for People and Pollinators is coming along!

Alison Troy Face Art inspired by our Garden Day!

In the News!

Salem Main Streets 

Salem Gazette  

Party at 289 Derby!

Retonica laser show finale at Party at 289 Derby – all photos by Creative Salem

The five 289 Derby Community Design Events happened every Wednesday evening from May 24 – June 21. During the events, we collaboratively shaped the future of a new waterfront park – 289 Derby.The five 289 Derby Community Design Events happened every Wednesday evening from May 24 – June 21. During the events, we collaboratively shaped the future of a new waterfront park – 289 Derby.

A lot of the creative input from the community was inspiring and useful as we all collaboratively created the design!

Event Two: Meet&Share at 289 Derby, May 31 – collage input sheets (names/contact have been omitted)

Event Four: Placemaking Placemats showing the two plan options (names/contacts have been omitted)

For a comprehensive documentation of the events, click here: 289Derby_Documented_no contacts_2017.08.19

The final event featured active engagement of the entire space. Since the “Curvilenear” plan was the overwhelming favorite, we drew the primary shape on the compacted asphalt so that people could see the proposed line between green and paved surfaces. We lined up chairs, tables, and design sections throughout the space, and people spread out across the lot in small groups.

Engagement Doors transformed into sculptural art-making

In the center of the space, we used the “Engagement Doors” to create a sculptural piece to be painted by participants. With the help of Creative Salem’s Kati Nalbandian and Joey Phoenix, participants painted the seasons on the doors inspired by the desire for a year-round space. The final event felt like a block party, and people expressed satisfaction with the design proposal.

Brothers Taverna serve delicious falafel, dolma – stuffed grape leaves, and hummus!

Unlike the other events, the final was less structured. People walked the site, met with each other, ate food from Brothers Taverna, listened to local band, Model Citizens, and got close to the river when Coast to Coast paddleboarders came up for a visit.

Coast to Coast Paddle paddled up from Forest River Park!

For our final engagement activity, we engaged people to sign up for becoming a “Friend of 289 Derby” for the ongoing engagement and stewardship of the space as it goes through design and after construction is completed. We provided refrigerator magnets people could take to remember the project by; 48 people signed up to help with stewardship of the space, design, and programming across five categories:

Memento Magnates for Friends of 289 Derby – keep in touch!

Green Space: 16 volunteers
Events: 10 volunteers
Kid’s Activities: 7 volunteers
Art-making: 4 volunteers
General help: 10 volunteers

Inspecting and discussing the final schematic design!

Someone suggested that we poll people for potential names for the space:
South River Park
Derby St Greenway
Derby River Lot
Derby Green
Lawn on Derby
Salem Space
289 Derby

At the final event, one participant said they have enjoyed watching 289 Derby transform from an uneven parking lot into a place for community gathering. They noted the timeline: first the ground was evened, then murals livened up the brick wall, then we painted the colorful stumps for seating, then strung pinwheels on the water’s edge, and now – at the final event – the space is filled with groups of people here and there, chatting, sitting, looking over the favorite plan design, in the shade of a tree, watching kids paint, looking out at the water.

Using the whole space, we had a great placemaking and community design party!

The Community Engagement facilitated by Salem Public Space Project and Creative Salem resulted in community buy-in and enthusiasm for the collaborative design and stewardship of a the new waterfront park. It’s meaningful that the transformation of 289 Derby was a local effort that showcased the varied talent in our small city, and the strong passion for community.

With this local support, we’ve succeeded in our three objectives:

1. We collaboratively designed a schematic plan direction with strong public support (80% per our Placemaking Placemats)

2. We created the types of events that could actually happen on site – from an outdoor movie, to dancing, to paddle-boarding in the South River – and helped collectively imagine the possibilities.

3. The above efforts inspired interest in local stewardship of some key elements of the park and programming for 289 Derby.

Model Citizens sang, people watched, and brought their own entertainment too

CBA Landscape Architects further developed the “curvy” scheme for our final event.
The schematic plan shows a balance between community desires: green space helps define paved surfaces, both flexible for varied activities. The design buffers the noise from Derby Street, and seeks to open to the water.

Final schematic plan – CBA Landscape Architects

The seating is both flexible, and integrated with the green space edge, and may hold some playful surprises.  The green space is both peaceful with educational elements including demonstration garden with native plants for pollinators. These physical elements will help facilitate the desire for a safe, peaceful space connected to nature, and balanced with bustling community gatherings for performances and group exercise in the summer, and ice skating in the winter.

Different program options – CBA Landscape Architects

With a budget of 750K from a state grant, the priority will be to create a beautiful, resilient container that will facilitate these varied desires – such as an amphitheater-like space, lawn with shade and trees, a multi-use stage, good lighting, a variety of areas for meetings, play, and chance encounters. A layer of creative elements will need to come in a later phase and/or through community partnerships.

Imagine…. so much!