Explore your city
As part of the FACES of Norwalk project, we wanted to create a walking tour from City Hall to the library to celebrate the rich history of our original downtown and develop a plan to place public art murals in the area. While we did commission two brilliant artworks as part of that project, we couldn’t gain access to actual buildings. Instead, we commissioned Duvian Montoya and Jahmane, who not only created vibrant paintings of their reflections of growing up in Norwalk but were thrilled to loan these works to the Norwalk Public Library. Be sure to check them out.
But there was still that niggling detail of encouraging pedestrian activity. So we installed Fence Art, essentially telling the story of Norwalk at each site, using chain link fences as our walls. The exhibit was up from April 2014 through October 2014.
Here’s how we enticed people to find out all about it:
It’s time to shake off those winter hibernation tendencies and explore downtown Norwalk. Norwalk 2.0 is installed fence art banners at City Hall, Mill Hill, Freese Park, and the library. These exhibits highlight the history of the downtown and encourage walkers to look at sites in the downtown a little differently. Historic photos provide a glimpse of what was there before while standing near what is here now. In many cases the selected photos show historic buildings that are still standing. Of course Freese Park has only existed since shortly after the 1955 flood. But the impact of what was lost can be seen by what is replaced it.
Inside City Hall is a collection of over 30 WPA era murals that are on display following restoration that was originally completed in the 1980s. The playful signs invite the public to view the murals. The Norwalk arts commission offers a printed map inside City Hall with the locations of each mural.
The Norwalk Public Library itself a Carnegie era building houses not only the largest collection of historic documents about the city of Norwalk but two WPA murals and two recent additions commissioned by Norwalk 2.0 as part of last year’s FACES of Norwalk.
While the raging waters exhibit at City Hall tells the story of the 1955 flood the installation at Freese Park puts the damage captured at the time at one of the key sites affected. The exhibit also depicts earlier eras where shops lined Main Street and Wall Street.
Norwalk is fortunate to have maintained its original town green since colonial days. The buildings around the green reflect some of the oldest architecture in the area.
The project was part of the series of ongoing projects undertaken by Norwalk 2.0 to provide cultural connections to the residents, businesses and visitors to Norwalk. Norwalk 2.0 received funding from the DECD Office of the Arts in in addition to numerous individual donations and grants support this project.
Downloadable maps with expanded information are available at the project website: DiscoverNorwalk.com.
More information about Norwalk 2.0 is available at their website norwalk2.org.