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!

ReImagine A Lot! Week 4

I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_1

This Friday marks four weeks of building at the Palmer Street Lot – same time, same place, every week. Our actions slowly become a Friday afternoon habit as the physical form of the community wall takes shape. Many have helped out, either with the support of materials or with the support of their time and hands: building, painting, digging. This help has come from all ages, often unsolicited from people as they walk by the project, curious as to what it will be, with a desire to help create. Lessons and stories abound. One neighborhood girl told me of how she stopped a couple young boys from playing target practice with the wall, since after all, she helped paint it. My heart fluttered at this evidence of her taking ownership of the project. I am amazed that people want to help without even fully realizing what the “final product” will be; especially enthusiastic are the small children who have unbounded desire and energy to help create something tangible. I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_2

While the final product will prompt residents to “imagine what this lot could be” in the future, this work has already transformed what the empty lot currently is. During the summer, I lamented the lot’s wasted state, particularly since it is located across from the much used Mary Jane Lee Park. The lot lay useless, and in stark contrast to the park’s bustling activity. Now, it is no longer fallow ground, the site of a demolition, and bits of trash. The use value is exponential, and for now, the lot operates at full potential. I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_3
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Week 4 at the Palmer Street Lot, saw much progress: the NSCDC Youth Build team, nine strong, helped out: they applied the orange chalkboard paint on the front 48 foot wall, they began making the stencils to prompt community participation, and they installed the back panels that will soon be transformed into a community mural. Neighborhood children helped paint the tree trunk chairs, and were inspired by Jackson Pollack in painting the future community bulletin board. This week, we also hosted the first event at the lot: The Point Neighborhood Association meeting (more on that later); for now, scroll down and see some of the photos as the Point ReImagines what this Lot can be: I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_5 I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_6 I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_7

Get to The Point: Neighborhood Narratives

Share your story! salempublicspaceproject[at]

Share your story! salempublicspaceproject[at]

Some of you may know that the Salem Arts Festival is happening June 7 – 9. Salem Public Space Project will showcase The Point neighborhood at the Community Arts Room. One of the themes that has been discussed during the past few months through meetings for the Point Visioning Plan has bee the image of The Point. Some of the words that residents have used to describe their neighborhood are: community, strong, diverse, unite,d tight-knit, awesome, and misunderstood. While The Point has its problems, many on the outside don’t know all the good stuff that also makes up this awesome neighborhood. We want to collect stories that took place in your neighborhood and communicate the good. And we all know good things happen every day. I don’t live in The Point, but in the little time I have been there, I have had some great experiences. I will share one example.  During the recent lock-down in Boston a few Fridays ago, I could not go into the city to work, and so, my neighbor and I decided to go put up a community board in Mary Jane Lee Park for people to share events. We had one other person with us – William, Doreen Thomas’s son whom many of you may know from The Friends of Mary Jane Lee Park. Well, we soon attracted more enthusiastic help!

For the Salem Arts Festival, we want to collect at least 10 of these stories, each with an image showing where it happened in the neighborhood. We will make an installation that will show off all these stories on postcards on a large map drawn on the ground in the Community Arts Room of the Festival. If you have a story, or think you may have a story, use the sheet below, fill out your story, circle the location on the map and send it to us: SalemPublicSpaceProject[at]

What is your story?

What is your story?

NN_Storyteller Story Sheet


Reflections on Public Participation

Deborah Buelow speaks with residents

Deborah Buelow speaks with residents

Guest post by Deborah Buelow who reflects on resident participation in Mary Jane Lee Park after last Saturday’s event.

The afternoon was quite a success in all aspects: the weather, the turnout, and conversations on how to improve neighborhood spaces. With the first day of bright and warm sunshine beckoning people outdoors and an Easter egg hunt promising the collection of goodies, Mary Jane Lee Park was awash in good feelings. It was an excellent time to ask people to discuss how they view their park, and how they might see it changed. I followed Claudia and the Salem Public Space Project (SPSP) to get a sense of place: who uses the park, what do they like about the park, what could be improved?  What about that plot of land next to the park – the one where the dilapidated one story building was located – how would you use that plot now that it’s empty? And in fact that was the idea behind being there yesterday afternoon: to ask people who use this public space to participate in a survey and begin to discuss some of these questions.

After listening for a bit I began speaking to people in the context of the survey. There were some overwhelmingly parallel themes running through each person’s voice. One recurring narrative had to do with safety in the park, and how it is used at night. It seems transparency is necessary. Trees have been cut down to mitigate this problem, but more lighting and more openness would help. Another topic related to garbage, litter, overall cleanliness. The ground is dirty, there is no place for trash; the city wouldn’t pick it up if there were trash containers anyway, they said. Could a rubber playground surface help as opposed to the sand? Options are plentiful, but who would implement them? Who would pay for them?

These questions, and answers to these questions, lingered, but what really interested me were the overtones that rang throughout these conversations. The people I spoke with initially paused after I asked some of these questions: What else might you do with this park? What would you do with that unutilized plot of land over there? The initial answer was almost always: “I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it.” But somehow that makes sense: if people have no reason to consider an alternate, why would they?

This survey works in two ways, and that’s what I find most exciting about it. It will go on to influence a number of ideas that are prompted by the suggestions of the community members, and already I know Claudia and the SPSP have thoughts on how to begin to integrate some of these ideas. But most significantly I see this survey as a way to allow the community members to consider the possibility for change, and to begin to expand their thinking to allow for future improvements. And that’s an opportunity for real and beneficial change.