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  • Writer's pictureCity of Charlestown

Charlestown Public Arts Projects Taking Shape, City Seeking Artists and Volunteers

The first step in the Mayor's plan to foster the creation of more public art installations throughout Charlestown is underway on the corner of Parkland and Market, and rapidly taking shape as artist Bill Shippen transforms an old tree slated for removal into an elaborate, larger-than-life Charlestown Pirate.

Charlestown Pirate Public Art Carving
What was slated to become another tree stump instead will take form as a Charlestown Pirate public art installation. Carved by local woodcraft artist Bill Shippen, the figure towers over the intersection of Parkland and Market Streets in Charlestown.

The newly installed carving is a donation from the city to celebrate our pirate pride.

“Public art in its variety of forms helps us celebrate our unique community identity, and fosters the kind of community cohesion for which we are known.” said Mayor Hodges.

During their regular meeting on August 5th, the Charlestown Board of Public Works approved Mayor Hodges’ request to seek bids for painting the stairway from Market Street to the city square, as well as a request to allow local artist Bill Shippen to begin work on the pirate tree carving project. She also voiced a call to local artists, youth, civic, church or volunteer groups who might be interested in spearheading a Charlestown Public Arts project.

Just weeks ago, local business owner David Spear had also received approval from the same board for the installation of a colorful bicycle-turned-flower planter to be installed as public art near the intersection of Main Street and Main Cross in memory of its former rider and his late wife Peggy Spear. Peggy and Dave have been a Charlestown mainstay for many years as owner-operators of the Copper Kettle Restaurant located just steps away from the art installation. Peggy was a loving and faithful friend to many, and the tribute both brightens the local landscape and keeps her memory alive for those who knew her.

Peggy Spear's bicycle gains new life as a vibrant planter and downtown art installation in her memory, located near the intersection of Main Street and Main Cross steps from the Spear family's Copper Kettle restaurant.

As these and other public art projects continue to take shape throughout Charlestown, Mayor Hodges hopes that a creative element here and there will not only support beautification and place-making efforts, but inspire locals and those who frequent Charlestown to look around our city with a traveler's eye - and perhaps even to get involved in the process.

“I hope that people see the various installations that will come over the next few years as a creative addition to our landscape and that they will bring their own ideas forward so that we can add features that encourage people to explore our city more.”

Community groups, artists of all kinds, individuals who are interested in sponsoring or creating public art installations, businesses interested in becoming a founding partner of the program, anyone interested in volunteering to support Charlestown Public Art projects - or even those interested learning more are encouraged to submit their interest via this form to begin the process and be added to the program's contact list.

What other public art ideas do you have for Charlestown?

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