By Lisa Capobianco
With the holiday season approaching, the windows of vacant buildings on Center Street will soon show off their festive side with art work created by local artist Mary DeCroce and other artists.
The idea originated from Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo, who wanted to showcase the vacant buildings to prospective businesses while entertaining visitors in Southington. After approaching the idea with DeCroce, who soared with it, the town approved of the project, which costs $3,000 according to Perillo.
Perillo said his inspiration for the idea stemmed from other decorated storefront sites in New York City, Hartford and other cities. He hopes the initiative will stir excitement and activity for visitors in and outside of Southington while providing prospective business owners an opportunity for occupancy in the area and to visualize how they can use the space.
“If we create the importance of art in the downtown area, it may draw more people,” Perillo said.
Three buildings on Center Street will showcase the artwork, including the building where Mainly Seafood once stood, along with the former office space for a hair salon and a photography place.
So far DeCroce has received approval to decorate four vacant windows, and has yet to receive permission for the remaining six windows. Each window will have a three dimensional winter themes: a train with a winter scene, a winter scene with penguins, winter wonderland and the winter holidays.
DeCroce, along with three local artists, have already completed their design ideas. DeCroce said she also hopes to recruit student volunteers. Sponsors for the project include United Bank, the Southington Community Cultural Arts (SCCA) and Baron Realty Group, LLC, which have all paid for art materials.
“When you have art in town people want to connect to, you create economic value in town,” DeCroce said.
DeCroce said she feels thrilled that the project comes just in time for the annual “Hospitality Night” event, which will feature holiday lights on December 6.
“It would be a great addition to the night,” DeCroce said.
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