On March 3, 2017, the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Office of the Arts hosted the Land Art Generator Initiative for a workshop in Willimantic. The workshop followed LAGI's participation the previous day at Connecticut Arts Day in Hartford.
Participants in the afternoon “think tank” in Willimantic put their heads together around the design challenges of a prominent site on Bridge Street in the heart of town. The site is owned by the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership (WWP) who is interested in bringing forward the best ideas for how to utilize the parcel, which they have recently remediated and prepared for development.
During the workshop, community members investigated how renewable energy technologies can be incorporated into public art and creative placemaking opportunities so that the intervention on this exciting site will bring the greatest benefit to the city and its people.
The WWP site offers the perfect opportunity to integrate renewable energy, with a richness of resources, including hydro, solar, and wind (as was made evident on the extremely blustery March day of the workshop!). The site, in such a prominent location in downtown Willimantic, is ideally situated to be a catalyst for economic and community development.
Setting the Stage
Lynn Stoddard, Director of ISE and Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of Culture at the Office of the Arts, opened the event together with reference to the aspirations of the State of Connecticut in arts and sustainability.
The Land Art Generator Initiative founding directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry followed with a presentation about the history of energy in our cities and landscapes and how LAGI is bringing forward creative ideas for beautiful infrastructures that can help to combat climate change.
Jim Turner, President of the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership presented a history of the site and the objectives of WWP, with help from Herb Bush, the civil engineer who managed the recent site mitigation project.
With this wonderful overview of the site context, the group worked together to put in place a plan of action. We're really looking forward to being a part of the next steps towards bringing public art and renewable energy infrastructure to Willimantic!
To learn more and read about the workshop outcomes, download the PDF brochure by clicking on the image below.