SOUTHINGTON — Vacant storefront windows downtown will soon be decorated with various vibrant pieces of art as a way to “enhance the downtown experience,” said Lou Perillo, the town’s economic development coordinator.
The Economic Development Strike Committee Meeting unanimously decided last week that $5,000 from the economic development budget would be used to decorate the windows to create an aesthetically pleasing area until the buildings are leased.
“We came up with this idea as a tool just to further interest in the downtown area,” Perillo said.
To create the artwork, Perillo contacted Mary DeCroce, the chairwoman of Southington Community Cultural Arts nonprofit organization. Due to her work on different murals in town and Harvest the Arts during the Apple Harvest Festival, he felt asking for her help to coordinate artists to work on themed, seasonal ideas for the storefronts was the best route.
Perillo said he and DeCroce will meet soon to go over ideas.
“It’s going to really add a terrific aesthetic component to our downtown area,” said Dawn Miceli, a town councilor and member of the strike committee. Art can “really be an economic driver throughout the community.”
The vacant buildings that will be the focus of the project have yet to be determined.
“We’re going to go through the downtown area this week and see what landlords would allow, what the status of the space is because some that appear vacant been leased since we looked into this,” Perillo said.
Michael DelSanto, the chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission and member of the economic strike committee, said there wouldn’t be any zoning violations by having the artwork in the windows as long as it’s kept indoors. He agreed that it would help from an “economic standpoint” to bring light to the windows by using art.
“Some shop owners put sheets up, newspaper on windows, and I don’t think it’s very attractive especially for potential businesses coming in,” DelSanto said. “This would be a good idea to dress up windows in thematic sense.”