Freese Park Concerts

A nice report on our Freese Park concert series. For 10 weeks Norwalk 2.0 sponsored live music in Freese Park. Thanks to David Lindsay, whose Tuesday Night Open Mic Jam brought musicians from all over Connecticut to perform in our downtown park.

Looking For Historic Wall Street Photos

Share Your History:

Norwalk 2.0 looking for images and documents that tell the story of downtown Norwalk

Norwalk 2.0 is collecting images that document the history of Wall Street and downtown Norwalk and illustrate its many changes. A selection will be chosen for reproduction in a walking history trail exhibit and map and website that will be installed next month.

We are asking anyone interested in helping with the project to to bring old photos, maps or other interesting documents, to POP City (68 Wall Street), specifically photos, maps, images or anything that illustrates the history of downtown between the 1930s and the 1980s. The dates we are collecting at POP City are Saturday August 24th from 10 am to 2 pm and on Monday August 26th from 4 pm to 8 pm.

All materials will be scanned on the spot and returned.

Images that are selected will be reproduced and displayed as part of an outdoor exhibit at key points along the arts trail established as part of Norwalk 2.0’s creative placemaking project – FACES of Norwalk. This initiative is designed to ignite activity in downtown Norwalk and bring back a sense of community and pride in the neighborhood.

Wall Street, which connects the East and West parts of Norwalk with a bridge over the Norwalk River has been a vital part of Norwalk’s growth up until the 1955 flood. Norwalk 2.0’s ongoing project aims to capture the cultural significance of the history since that point and has created programs and projects that have brought attention to the area.

“We’ve long been believers that cultural exhibits don’t have to always be in a formal setting and contained within a building out of context where things actually happened,” said Jackie Lightfield co-founder of Norwalk 2.0. “We hope that by placing an exhibit in context of what is here now and what was once there will enable the viewer to explore the ties to the recent past and connect with how history is something that is living part of a community.”

“So much of what Wall Street was in its peak is still visible;” said co-founder Maribeth Becker. “this exhibit will bring stories to life.”

Norwalk 2.0 thanks Dorothy Mobilia, Peter Bondi, Rick McQuaid, Norwalk Public Library, Norwalk Historical Society, Norwalk Preservation Trust and the Redevelopment Agency for their help with this endeavor.

Norwalk 2.0 is a community and economic development organization dedicated to bringing people back to heart of Norwalk’s downtown. Linking the past with the future, the FACES of Norwalk project received funding support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency (DECD Office of the Arts) as part of the Arts Catalyze Placemaking (ACP-3) Arts Leadership Implementation grant program.

Norwalk 2.0 is part of a growing national movement that leverages technology to increase social engagement and participation in communities. Gov 2.0, Code for America and Startup America all focus on delivering tech tools to local organizations and communities to enable better and more efficient ways of making communities better.

Becker and Lightfield founded Norwalk 2.0 in the summer of 2010 to address needs in Norwalk after extensive work as civic leaders.

Norwalk 2.0’s mission is to engage residents, businesses and community organizations to work together and create an authentic, creative, economically diverse and sustainable future.

Creative Place Making

One of the reasons that we spend so much time organizing communities is simply because good things happen when serendipitous connections happen. Not so long ago, I was reading a Harvard Business Review article on the sense of place where Kodak was singled out as a company that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rochester NY is not exactly known for its tech scene is it? Yet Polaroid, in the heart of Cambridge, was in a fairly fluid tech scene, yet somehow missed the bandwagon of going digital in much the same way as Kodak has, and with the added indignity of watching Instagram create instant digital filter effect photos that can be shared on the Internet in a seemingly incremental step from the old skool polaroid instant photo print.

For companies, being there means having a presence on the ground to deeply understand places that hold resources important for the future. Kodak might have been a different, much greater company now, dominating digital imaging the way it had dominated film-based photography, if the company had “been there” in Silicon Valley soaking up the sunshine of digital creativity, hiring a new Internet-savvy generation, and connecting with entrepreneurs inventing the future. Instead, the firm remained firmly in Rochester, New York, capital of an older technology era.

Like most things, its more than a sense of place that allows for innovation, its also a sense of culture. Rosabeth Moss Kanter spots the difference in this graf:

In contrast, Reuters, an information-provider that was also threatened with Internet-caused obsolescence, reluctantly allowed a key staff member to move from London to California, where he showed up in the places that emerging talent hung out, including the Stanford student cafeteria. By being there, he was in preferred position to invest in many star start-ups (which could pick and choose their investors) and make friends with potential partners. He also brought in global executives to see it for themselves, which accelerated decisions about changes in the parent company. Two years later, connections solidified, he could return to London and make occasional return visits. Five years later, the CEO declared that Reuters had transformed into an Internet company.

It’s an apparent paradox: The declining significance of place is associated with the rising significance of place. Technology helps us connect with anyone anywhere nearly instantaneously, crowdsource ideas, and work on virtual teams without ever being in the same place. But being in the same place at the right time means being able to make serendipitous connections, and even to get mistaken for someone important. That’s why executives trek up the snowy Swiss mountains to Davos, or why art dealers flock to Art Basel and Art Basel Miami. Furthermore, showing up and being there has an emotional appeal even when it lacks instrumental value. People pay a premium to attend live sports and entertainment that they could get free on TV or the Web.

Creating places for different people to mingle and exchange ideas is part art and part science. We like to think that the POP UP model we’ve created is the right alchemy in building a sense of place and sense of innovation and energy that will foster good things.

Looking To Do Something?

Hey, we’re all about connecting with people who do cool stuff. Our online submission process for doing stuff in POP City is open. We’re looking for innovative, cool and fun. All three would be totally awesome. The submission process is fairly simple. Tell us who you are, what you want to do and if you are an artist, show us your work! The rest of you just get to type.

Not too many questions (we hope) and we’ll be in touch.

Submit Here.

The before and after

The transformation of a vacant storefront is always exciting. This is a before and after shots Of the POP City space at 68 Wall Street.

 

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The Art of the Pop Up

Jackie presents that Art of the Pop-Up during the first at Stamford Ignite. Watch the five minute overview on how to think about revitalizing downtowns with pop-ups and all sorts of different ideas.

 

A Movie about Sign Painters

SIGN PAINTERS (OFFICIAL TRAILER) from samuel j macon on Vimeo.

Norwalk 2.0 Plans Norwalk Downtown Revitalization

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NORWALK – Norwalk 2.0, a community and economic development organization is starting work on a project aimed at bringing people back to heart of Norwalk’s downtown. Linking the past with the future, the project received funding support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency (DECD Office of the Arts) as part of the Arts Catalyze Placemaking (ACP-3) Arts Leadership Implementation grant program. The grant amount was $65k.

The project, FACES of Norwalk, a mural arts trail, involves creating pop up art, cultural exhibits and events in vacant storefronts in addition to partnering with businesses in the area. Partners in the project include, Artists Duvian Montoya, Jahmane, the City of Norwalk, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, the Norwalk Public Library, the Norwalk Preservation Trust, the Norwalk Historical Society, the Norwalk Arts Commission and the Greater Norwalk Arts Council.

The project goal is to create a series of arts events and street exhibits that speak to the historic economic vibrancy of downtown Norwalk and catalyze an artistic hub within the district. Through an inaugural year of programming in addition to site specific history engagement, Norwalk 2.0 plans to include a series of pop-up arts and retail experiences that place creative expression into the heart of the district and help forge ties from the new businesses located in the retail area with the larger community and its historical roots.

For the past two years Norwalk 2.0 has laid the groundwork for the initiative by building a strong alliance between the Norwalk Preservation Trust, the Norwalk Historical Society and the Norwalk Historical Commission, the City of Norwalk and the property owners so that the story of Norwalk’s historic downtown industries and businesses are represented within context of a historic district. In 2009, the State of Connecticut formally recognized the area as a historic district.

Building on data compiled from the 2011 Norwalk Listens City-Wide Survey, Norwalk 2.0 identified a community desire to have more activities in the Norwalk Center area. The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency has been working with local developers to build new housing in the area, but for much of the past decade, various projects have been stalled.

“We see this an opportunity,” said co-founder Maribeth Becker, “to work with what we have and tap into the creative community in order to help create demand.”

Becker and co-founder Jackie Lightfield have created pop-up events and exhibits in South Norwalk to great acclaim.

“We had great success creating pop-up spaces in SoNo in partnership with great property owners” said Lightfield. “The Wall Street area is our historic downtown, and bringing our program to this area will help restore that vibrant downtown center.”

Norwalk 2.0 is part of a growing national movement that leverages technology to increase social
engagement in and participation in communities. Gov 2.0, Code for America and Startup America all focus
on delivering tech tools to local organizations and communities to enable better and more efficient ways
of making communities better.

Becker and Lightfield founded Norwalk 2.0 in the summer of 2010 to address needs in Norwalk after
extensive work as civic leaders.

Norwalk 2.0’s mission is to engage residents, businesses and community organizations to work together
and create an authentic, creative, economically diverse and sustainable future.

 

Pop Ups of a Different Kind

Lena Steinkühler New York Biotopes lovingly showcases NYC with abstract plants and creatures mutating before your eyes. Her film, a graduation project, was a reaction to, in her words, insufficient living space for plants and creatures. “These creatures and plants, partly mechanical, partly organically in appearance, spread more and more over the city and fill it up with life.” It’s a stunning film.

New York Biotopes from Lena Steinkühler on Vimeo.

Check Out the 2.0 Survey Results

We were happy to report on the results of the Norwalk Listens Survey, and produced a music video to go along. For those that want to read a little data we’ve got you covered with a link here.