TidalShift: Plastic in our Oceans…?

The thought of a school of jellyfish flying above your head as you walk down the street may seem strange, surreal… simply not right.

If we suspend what we already know about trash in oceans, we would think it equally bizarre for a bunch of disparate plastic items from grocery bags to bendy straws to surf on waves and populate our waters.

But we know that “275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean.” So perhaps a school of flying jellyfish among the summer foliage isn’t so odd…?

For this year’s Salem Arts Festival, we are creating hundreds of jellyfish from used plastic bags because….

…. sea turtles and other marine life regularly mistake plastic bags for their food, including jellyfish!

… Salem has adopted plastic bag reduction legislation that will take effect on January 1, 2018 and we want to spread the word about its significance! Perhaps the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts can join in the clean-up effort!

Salem Public Space Project has partnered with Salem Sound Coast Watch and From the Bow Seat to use art to communicate the need for this shift from convenience to caring. Since last November we have been creating jellyfish across Salem in schools, museums, cafes, and our studio at 10 Derby Square.

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In the ocean, jellyfish are fascinating creatures animated through their hypnotic movement, as observed at the New England Aquarium. On May 31 we will install a canopy of jellyfish over Front Street. How will these plastic-bag jellyfish move in the breeze? What will they communicate? A Tidal Shift?

Join one of our workshops to make USED plastic-bag jellyfish and let’s brainstorm how we can help spread the reduction of plastic use so that plastic in our oceans won’t grow! 

Call for Salem Poets and Writers!


Over a dozen local photographers have chosen and photographed a public space meaningful to them. What will their image inspire you to write about a place that you know or discover in your own way?

Cards will feature a public space photo and a poem/ written reflection inspired by the photo on the other. To be launched and for sale at the Salem Arts Festival, 2017. The Public Space Cards will be packaged with a map of all locations. All proceeds will go towards recovering production cost and then divided equally among participants. (Cost TBD)

Poetry/prose submission Deadline: March 11, 2017

MAX LENGTH: 100 words / 12 lines

TO PARTICIPATE: Send a writing sample to salempublicspaceproject[at]gmail.com and we’ll get you started! 

Move With Me, a pinwheel installation


(all photos by John Andrews unless otherwise noted) 

MoveWithMe is a community art installation of multiple sailcloth pinwheels that embodies the connection of cultures across waters and land from the past to now, moving in confluence when the wind is just right.


Front Street

The project transforms Front Street with 369 pinwheels, many of which are hand colored with personal interpretations of cultural patterns from places along Salem’s famous maritime trade.

When still, the pinwheels look like magnolias. They begin to spin sporadically, sometimes just one on a line, at other times multiple pinwheels spin in unison. They surprise. Only intended as a three day installation, the project will stay up through October. The sun has begun to bleach the hand colored patterns, as the sun bleaches the sails of long journeys across the waters.

04_jaMoveWithMe re-uses sailcloth donated by Doyle Sailmakers. The minimal design of knotting rope, to keep each pinwheel in place as it spins on its grommet, reduced hardware. Material budget: under $300. The small budget inspires us to be resourceful and mindful in our design: do we need to buy up bulk stock from Home Depot when we can re-use waste products from a local business and also build a relationship? Do we need to buy new materials when using waste product makes much more sense for a temporary project?

Design in Conversation: transition from tension cables to ropes with slack

Design in Conversation: transition from tension cables to ropes with slack


As an artist and architect, how can I adapt my vision to changing circumstances? Initially, I envisioned perfectly straight lines of pinwheels in geometric contrast with the flutter of the tree canopies; this would have required strong and costly cables. The use of the rope allowed for flexibility, and creates a different relationship with the context: the pinwheels are no longer in contrast, but rather in dialogue with the organic nature of trees.

Process is Product

Process is Product: without the participation and the relationships created, there could be no community project

The pinwheels were collaboratively created at multiple workshops at PEM/PM’s Artopia, The Phoenix School, Salem Academy, Old Town Hall, and weekly workshops held 10 Derby Square.

#MoveWithMe was installed for the 2016 Salem Arts Festival, and led by Claudia Paraschiv, local architect and community artist.

The community art project transforms a familiar space in Salem through an environmentally and financially sustainable project that is in dialogue with the city’s culture and involves as many people as possible. Participate in next year’s project (TBD) starting February 2017! Sign up on our email list to get early info on participating! 

Make YOUR Pinwheel!

Pinwheel Making Workshops every Tuesday in April 6-8pm at 10 Derby Square! Join us! (space is limited)mwm_invitation to participate_Page_1

You are Invited to Participate!
We’re excited to introduce Move With Me, this year’s participatory community art installation for the Salem Arts Festival.

We invite participants to connect to Salem’s continued legacy of sailing by creating pinwheels from sailcloth donated by Doyle Sailmakers, a local institution since 1982! We use the wasted bits and left over pieces to create pinwheels playfully reminiscent of power-generating turbines.

Participants connect to distant cultures by taking time to draw out cultural patterns from across the world, directly onto the sailcloth with permanent markers to withstand the rain.

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Choose a country you’d like to represent, dig up a cultural pattern, textile or motif and draw it on a sailcloth square! (Contact us for pinwheel kits.) The pinwheels lightly touch Front Street and are made of mostly recycled materials.

The multiple pinwheels above Front Street, like a movable quilt of cultural patterns, will embody the communal movement and connection of cultures across waters and land from the past to now, moving in confluence when the wind is just right.

In the months leading to the festival on June 3-5, Claudia and others will lead workshops to color and make these pinwheels. Join her at 10 Derby Square every Tuesday in April from 6-8pm!

Deadline to receive your sailcloth square(s): April 30th
Deadline to contribute your colored square(s): May 31st


Move With Me is led by Claudia Paraschiv, local architect, public artist, and founder of Salem Public Space Project. In 2014 she led the participatory project HulaArt over Artists Row. Last year, local fiber artist Kate Babcock led Front Yard Street Art. Leslie Lavesque and the Phoenix School students have been instrumental in the development of these community art projects. A big thank you to Kylie Sullivan of Main Streets for enabling it all and John Andrews of Creative Salem for documenting it all!