The security need for concrete barriers within the Gay Street Open-Air Marketplace presented a unique opportunity for public art, and the Public Arts Commission (PAC) was asked to develop a plan. The barriers have been assigned double duty as both a safety measure as well as canvas. Local artists Rhoda Kahler, Al Moretti, Dane Tilghman, and Jeff Schaller were each commissioned to create one of a kind murals on these concrete components. Additionally, an alumni team from West Chester University’s art program and our friends at the Chester County Art Association were also borough in to create original works of art on a few additional barriers. The excitement surrounding the opening of the Marketplace was such that we were able to hit the ground running on day 1 of the Marketplace. The artists were on site making their masterpieces as soon as the barriers were set in place. From the very start the atmosphere of the Marketplace has been rich with the valuable contribution of art for the public.
With the support from The West Chester Downtown Foundation, E. Kahn Development, Mayor Herrin’s Clean and Green Campaign, and many others, the program has been expanded! More artwork has been installed through a project that provided the community’s youth to take part in the design and creation of a mural. An opportunity that will no doubt instill a sense of pride for these young volunteers as they do their part to beautify the Borough. And there is more to come! Follow the PAC on social media (@WCPublicArts) for updates as the public art within the Marketplace continues to grow.