Norwalk 2.0 has been engaged in programming a series of arts, exhibits and community projects in the historic Norwalk downtown in order to improve the neighborhood support economic development and bring people to our beautiful historic downtown These neighborhood includes, Wall Street, The Norwalk Public Library, Mill Hill Historic Park, Freese Park, the Town Green, Main Street, Issacs Street, Garden Cinema, Belden Ave, and West Ave..
For several years, artists have revitalized existing storefronts in the Norwalk Center area and infused new vitality in a blighted and difficult area. Today the area hosts several arts organizations and many development projects. It is also the site of the new infill housing in downtown Norwalk since the recession, a 569-unit, six-story development by Belpointe Real Estate, a $250 million investment.
- Provide new and desired uses for downtown that enhance the vibrancy of the district.
- Serve as gathering areas for people that provide benefits or resources to community members.
- Serve as inspiration to other communities addressing distressed downtowns.
- Create new opportunities to engage the evolution of the Norwalk Center and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Creating Relocatable Urbanism.”
Norwalk 2.0 has recently collected input, feedback and suggestions from community members through a series of workshops, events and community conversations. Priorities expressed by the community include:
- enhancing neighborhood identity
- increasing connectivity between the neighborhoods and focusing on the pedestrian experience to and from
- neighborhood gateways
- wayfinding and signage
- pedestrian lighting, distinctive design and architecture
- affordable and mixed-income housing and affordable and mixed-income gallery and live/work space for visual and performing artists
- bike facilities including bike lanes and bike parking
Our goal is to actively engage and provide opportunity for young people, people in career transition and creative industry professionals to explore new ideas. We have iterated our public arts program to mix historic preservation, downtown revitalization and arts entrepreneurs to engage in building a vibrant downtown.
Norwalk 2.0’s principals have been engaged in and supported by the Norwalk Arts Community through a number of large scale projects. Most recently with the support of the DECD of the arts, Norwalk 2.0 commissioned local artists to crate new paintings reflective of the WPA murals that the City of Norwalk has. Repurposed storefronts to engage artists in exhibits, sculpture and events.
The past several years have brought an increased focus on Norwalk’s arts and culture. The pedestrian experience and connectivity have also played important roles.
The Inside/Out City Wide Open Studio event in the Fall of 2010, not only connected both South Norwalk’s downtown with Central Norwalk’s downtown, but it achieved its goal of incorporating over 44 institutional participants and strengthened bonds between organizations not in the habit of cross marketing.
Immediately following Inside/Out, a group of participants continued to meet and shortly thereafter ultimately generated the Holiday on Main Street event.
In 2009, pARTy in the Park, began the process of focusing area merchants, restaurants, residents and visitors on the connectivity between Mathews Park and SoNo, and encouraging the cross-promotion of cultural activities.
Under Lightfield’s leadership as Chair of the Norwalk Arts Commission, projects undertaken include: a Norwalk Art Walk Map; a printed map and guide to public arts installations in Norwalk. Public Art Projects such as Traffic Graphic, a collaboration with the Norwalk Library visualizing great books as art installations on traffic light signal cabinets; Sounds of SoNo, a streetwide concert, architecture walk and arts walks in South Norwalk, Art in the Windows, a readapted use of unleased storefront windows in South Norwalk used to display the works of over 80 local artists ranging in ages from 8 to 80; Storefront Theater, a project to bring affordable live theater into public spaces featuring the New Haven Theater Company’s Death of a Salesman; the Sketchy Event, a live drawing program that invited the public to sketch in a group setting and visible to public in an empty store situated in the middle of Norwalk’s restaurant row; and Bang!, a dance program targeted towards young jazz, tap and interpretive dance also taking advantage of empty stores.
Networking events like ArtSpots, or public art projects such as the gallery in the Maritime parking garage or buildings slated for redevelopment, our goal has been to raise the visibility of the arts and redevelopment plans in the urban core.
Signature event programming in Norwalk is a vital connection method and economic generator. In addition to long running events such as SoNo Celebration and the Oyster festival, the commission has supported an environmental film fest produced by the Norwalk Seaport Association, and programming produced by member organizations ranging from Stepping Stones Children’s Museum, the Maritime Aquarium, the Norwalk Historical Society, the Rowayton Arts Center and others.
Enriching our local talent base of artists includes graphic designers, illustrators, videographers, musicians, photographers and multi-media gurus, and during the December in SoNo event, a poster design contest was held attracting residents and visitors to stroll through and encourage people to get out and walk around to appreciate all that downtown Norwalk has to offer.