Imagine a Vibrant Main Street in Holyoke

Imagina una Main Street vibrante en Holyoke

El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke is an exciting placemaking project celebrating the Puerto Rican and Latinx community of Holyoke. Imagine a vibrant Main Street with colorful banners, large-scale art works, dynamic lighting, beautiful murals, food trucks and art festivals; a Main Street that reflects the vital culture of the surrounding neighborhoods; a Main Street that supports emerging businesses with safe and walkable streets. Click here to learn more.

The Heart of Holyoke

As a creative placemaking project, El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke, aims to develop spaces and places that that are reflective of the communities surrounding Main Street and promote economic opportunity. Through a series of culturally responsive public art projects and­­ installations the project’s goal is to:

  • Strengthen resident’s ongoing efforts to create safe, family-oriented community spaces that reflect their cultural heritage and improve perceptions of their neighborhood.
  • Encourage economic opportunities and optimism through specific streetscape and neighborhood improvements.
  • Create a greater sense of belonging and cultural pride for residents of Holyoke.
  • Support the City’s newly established Puerto Rican Cultural Area along Main Street between the I-391 underpass and Lyman Street.
  • Build on project funding already received through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mass Cultural Council.

The Vision

We hope to create greater visibility and cultural vibrancy along a one mile stretch of Main Street in Holyoke, which is the heart of the Puerto Rican Cultural Area. Latinx artists will be selected to generate artistic works in collaboration with community members. Through a detailed community survey, we heard that the community wants to celebrate their culture and heritage through seeing and making artwork. In response, the El Corazon will include many different types of art—from installations, performances, and events. The primary project components are organized into several categories:

Gateway Markers: At each end of Main Street there are two decommissioned Holyoke Gas & Electric electrical towers. These iconic steel structures will be transformed into “gateway” markers for the newly created Puerto Rican Cultural Area through large scale lighting and artistic installations that will celebrate and represent the Puerto Rican community. We want to light up four electrical towers.

Banners: This is one of the most exciting projects, and one with broad community support. The installation of banners on light posts along Main Street from I-391 to Lyman Street is designed to be the catalyst for all the projects to come.

Participatory Murals and Installations: Several storefronts, windows and fences have been selected for participatory murals and installations. All the works will be developed with input from the community.

Building Wraps: Several buildings in the core district will have large-scale artistic building wraps. Imagery may include contemporary images of neighborhood residents, historic photographs, and/or artistic works produced at community workshops.

A Temporary Pavilion: A dynamic pavilion will be installed between a Main Street sidewalk and parking lot to support pop-up cultural events like food trucks and art festivals.