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.



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.


Norwalk 2.0 Plans Norwalk Downtown Revitalization



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.


The Winter Newsletter

the renaissance

Brughel the fight between carnival and lent
As we sit here writing this on our deck overlooking the Norwalk River, we miss the lazy days of 80 degree sunshine, but are appreciating the nearly 60 degree run up to Christmas. Well, we know it won’t last, but the crazy weather certainly has been on the minds of many this past fall.So many people have been impacted by Sandy, that we’re sure that you personally know someone who is still dealing with the trees, the sand, the debris and the water. And insurance. And FEMA. Kudos to all our first responders who worked around the clock. We want to give a special shout out to a city staff person who jumped into a situation that was seemingly spiraling in a bad direction. We speak of the tremendous flooding that wiped out many of the first floor apartments at Washington Village.

Once David Shockley of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency heard that residents were still dealing with debris and damage weeks after the storm, he connected residents with about 150 volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Darien who worked tirelessly to clean and clear damaged goods and debris. We thank these volunteers for aiding some of our most vulnerable residents. With the recent news articles about future development proposed in this area, we hope that all involved recognize that organizations that can’t provide basic services efficiently shouldn’t be encouraged to manage larger projects.

Now back to our regular periodic peaceful observations. Since this is the holiday season we would like to extend our holiday wishes for all the holidays that anyone wishes to celebrate, including the NFL playoffs. All of the holidays mean end of year, and this year adds an extra day of intrigue in the form of the Mayan End of the Calendar, otherwise commercialized as the End-Of-The-World (as we know it and we feel fine…) MB prefers to think of this as the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. It also ushers in our annual appeal.

After a recent trek through the mountains of Vietnam, MB navigated the mountain of mail on her kitchen counter. Caught between the multiple versions of Pottery Barn catalogs pimping nifty stuff to make her house photoshoot-ready, were a multitude of end-of-year fundraising appeals from every not-for-profit organization under the sun. It made us remember that ‘hey, we’re a 501(c)(3) doing good stuff, let’s ask people for money’. So here we are. Asking for money.

We won’t give you any personalized mailing labels, calendars or totebags – just the warm and fuzzy feeling that you are helping to make Norwalk a better place. However, to show our appreciation, those extra special friends who donate at the $100 level will receive a specially handcrafted warm and fuzzy item.Act now!  Operators are standing by. Now back to our regular programming.

Donating to 2.0 this year will lead to the launch of our amazing project: FACES of Norwalk, a Mural Arts Trail. Being big proponents of vibrant downtowns, we were happy to see so many of you tell us in last year’s survey that you wanted to see the Norwalk Center area spring back to life. Now we’ve always thought that our world cuisine restaurants and funky art spots made a cool downtown. But we too wanted more, so we’re going to work with our awesome project partners to program some cool stuff and put our connectivity passions into action. But even though we’ve gotten a healthy amount grants (thank you very much DECD) and raised many funds, we still need to close the gap. Call it the arts achievement gap.

Did we mention that it was easy to donate?

If you care about the West Avenue corridor, you might want to take the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency’s survey, or attend the December 17th meeting at Stepping Stones from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.While we look at 2013 as being an exciting year for 2.0, we want to make sure everyone who wants to join in the fun can. So before we begin to rock Wall Street with art happenings and pop up events, we’re going to start with an old fashioned community meeting in February. Stay tuned. We will outline our trailblazing project that highlights Norwalk’s past, present and future, and explore whatever else is on your mind.

So enjoy what’s left of 2012, and we look forward to seeing you in 2013!

MB + Jackie

Big changes start with little projects, and this is only one of a few projects we’ve started to change the world.
You can learn more about more at 
or follow us @norwalk2.

more from norwalk 2.0

Further Reading

Here’s what’s being read by theNorwalk 2.0  team right now:

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

by Jeff Speck

Board member Bruce Beinfield has assigned this book to the the team and we share it with you.

Thanks for Subscribing

The team at norwalk 2.0  wants to extend a hearty ‘thank you’ to all of our wonderful supporters. You’ve made the norwalk 2.0 community shine, and we want to keep that going! If you’re not a regular just yet visit the Norwalk Center for enlightening discussion on the latest Norwalk issues.

Calling all artists

We’re creating art inspired Norwalk 2.0 t-shirts. If you are an artist (or play one on tv), know an artist or wanna be an artist, we are looking for creative interpretations about what Norwalk 2.0 is all about.

We will post renditions of our faves here and let the world vote on the winners. Then we create the shirts and they become a bonus gift for making a donation. All that, and nary a telethon on the horizon!

How to Play:

Fill out this form along with a jpg of your design and we’ll post ’em here. Your theme, what do we mean by “Be the Change” or what is Norwalk 2.0?


Civility & The Press: A Discussion

We continue our support of community conversations. Civility and the Press: A paneldiscussion on March 29 at Fat Cat Pie Co. Wine Room. Tickets are $20 and include wine of course. Is the press part of the problem or part of the solution. Hear from Froma Harrop, Jerrod Ferrari and Thomas Mellana and join in the discussion.