Join us on Saturday, June 2nd for Fitchburg's 2018 Festa Della Reppublica — our Italian Festival!!! Join us for Face Painting, Fried Dough, Italian Pastries, Italian Dancing, Music and Art, Pizza, Espresso, Vino & Birra, a Homemade Meatball Competition and more on the street in downtown Fitchburg on Main Street to celebrate our rich Italian heritage!Read More
"Al Fresco Fitchburg". Thursday July 20th. Main St Fitchburg. Fitchburg Pride has been planning a night to showcase Fitchburg's wonderful restaurants. Main St will be closed from Prichard St to Oliver St. There will be two seatings, the first at 6pm and the second at 8pm. We will provide each restaurant with two white linen tables of six. The restaurants will create their own menus and cooking will take place in front of the audience. Pride will provide soft dinner music, landscape and lighting.
We are proud to announce our exceptional local restaurants: Dario's Ristorante, Zapata Mexican Cocina, The Fay Club, Dickie's Grillin', Slattery's Restaurant and Catering, Oak Hill Country Club, Beemers Pub & Grill and Il Ricordi Restaurant. With the help of Gomes Liquors, Wachusett Brewing Company and The Boulder cafe a cash bar will be available.
Can you imagine a beautiful July evening. The sight, the sound, and the aroma of food being cooked all around you. Tickets will be available Friday evening at each participating restaurant. Please, seating is limited so get your tickets early.
Tickets will and will be sold by the restaurants-- prices will be determined by the restaurants.
Continuing on our push for Al Fresco Dining...We are excited to announce our new Dining area at Espresso Pizza! You may have seen it at the Fitchburg Civic Days Block party on July 3rd!
Fitchburg Pride in conjunction with Elite Design and Construction INC and thanks to a generous grant from ReImagine North of Main and has sponsored an outdoor dining area for Espresso's through the Fall. This area is being maintained and operated by Espresso Pizza.
If you know a main street business that would like an Al Fresco dining area like this, please have them contact us at fitchburgpride.org or firstname.lastname@example.org with their information.
FITCHBURG -- Voters got the chance to take another look at mayoral candidates Andrew Couture and state Rep. Stephen DiNatale during a forum held by North of Main and Main Street Thursday evening at Destaré.
And both candidates had much to agree on.
The event, which was co-sponsored by ReImagine North of Main and Fitchburg Pride, had Couture and DiNatale answer seven prepared questions before taking any from the audience.
They involved how to better market the city, their thoughts on a one-lane Main Street, how to address homes being financially underwater, engaging residents, creating a business-friendly environment, using departments to improve quality of life, and utilizing the creative economy.
Couture spoke first, and throughout his remarks, he stressed getting businesses into the city.
"Start reinvesting in Fitchburg," he said. "We need to start marketing the city. I want to get Fitchburg in publications -- business publications, business journals."
As mayor, he would hold an open-door policy for both residents and businesses, he said.
"I can't do anything if I don't know about the problem that you're having," he said.
He said he'd also like to streamline the process for getting businesses into Fitchburg.
"Don't just put up walls," he said. "By making it easier for businesses, you're going to see businesses develop here."
He suggested, too, having a "business of the month" as a way to recognize businesses for their loyalty to the city.
City Hall also needs to be "more accessible, more approachable," he said, stressing that Fitchburg's website should be re-done.
In terms of the creative economy, he cited the B.F. Brown artist colony project as something that is "really good." There should also be more bookstores and coffee shops in the city.
"We need to start working with businesses to get the creative economy going," he said.
DiNatale also said it's important to reinvest in Fitchburg and to be business-friendly.
As mayor, he said he'd work to promote economic development by increasing the commercial and industrial tax base through rezoning, and he'd use some of the relationships he's made on Beacon Hill to help the city.
"The mayor has to be the chief marketer, and I would commit to that," he said.
He'd also hold an open-door policy, and he, like Couture, stressed the approachability of City Hall.
"Our goal must be to get to yes," he said. "The mayor must set the example for a cultural change within City Hall and all city departments. And that culture change is based on a simple phrase: Be nice. Just be nice."
DiNatale said Fitchburg's website "must be emphasized."
"We have to make this website user-friendly," he said.
Another goal, he said, is to remove "onerous regulations and red tape."
All of this, he said, is about "true customer service."
"Our door is open for business," he said. "City Hall must be approachable."
He also praised the BF Brown project, pointing out that it will likely generate new businesses: shopping, dining, walking areas, places where people will want to come downtown.
During the audience question-and-answer period, both candidates heard from City Councilor Joel Kaddy, who asked them about opening up parking downtown, and both agreed it was something that should be addressed.
When asked about the forum, Patricia Pistone, project director of ReImagine North of Main, said she thought it was "great," calling it "very upbeat, positive."
"Our purpose tonight was to educate," she said.
Destaré owner Chris Iosua, there on behalf of Pride, said both candidates "did an exceptional job."
Elections are Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Follow Jon Bishop on Twitter and Tout @JonBishopSE.
PHOTOS/COURTESY A.T. LEONARD & ASSOCIATES, ASHBY
Top: a photo of a stretch of Fitchburg’s Main Street; below, an artist’s rendering of what it would look like after completion of a downtown revitalization.Read More
From left, Bob Lemay of Ashburnham, Jerry Beck of Fitchburg, Marc Dohan of Fitchburg, Chris Iosua of Lunenburg and Kate Shelton of Harvard have organized to have 1,000 one-foot-square tiles displayed along Main Street in Fitchburg. (T&G Staff/TOM RETTIG)Read More
By Alana Melanson, email@example.com
FITCHBURG -- It may be just a chainlink fence right now, but the space adjacent to the Theatre Block on Main Street is about to become a bit more colorful.
By the beginning of June, the 140-foot stretch of fence diagonally across from City Hall will be covered by more than 1,000 wooden blocks hand-painted and decorated by members of the community as part of Building Blocks, an urban revitalization and beautification project sponsored by the downtown business leadership group Pride and the Fitchburg Art Museum.
As part of an Open Studios event incorporating the various art galleries and studios on Main Street on Saturday, Rollstone Studios and the Boulder Art Gallery welcomed folks of all ages to decorate their own 12-inch by 12-inch block to contribute to the installation.
"This project was developed to inspire the community to help get involved with the downtown and what it could look like, and through public art, a project like Building Blocks, one block at a time, we hope to work collaboratively with the city and with Pride and business owners and young people and parents and the community to all pitch in to revitalize Fitchburg into the jewel it is, and will be," said Jerry Beck, director of marketing and community engagement at the Fitchburg Art Museum, who was at Rollstone Studios on Saturday to paint with his 5-year-old daughter Georgie, whom he said had a part in formulating the idea for Building Blocks.
People may decorate the blocks in any way with any media they choose, but they must somehow incorporate a circle drawn in the center into their design, Beck said.
The circle symbolizes unity, while the square signifies stability, he said.
"It's really about seeing that, and believing that everybody has creative power, and vision, and an aesthetic, no matter what age, whether you're trained or not," Beck said. "Everyone has ideas, and everybody can contribute."
"We've really felt, since we first opened four years ago, that Fitchburg feels like it's on the brink of a revival," said Anne Giancola, director of Rollstone Studios. "It's really been vital to our mission, to help revitalize Fitchburg. Since we've been open, another six studios have opened, in addition to some restaurants, and some different kinds of galleries, so we really feel like Fitchburg is doing it, and it's going to turn around."
Her mission -- getting the community to realize art can be an integral part of that revitalization, and their lives.
"Art isn't just about the artist hanging some pictures up on the wall and all of us standing around and saying 'oh, what a nice painting,'" Giancola said. "We really wanted to say that art can be transformative in people's lives -- children's lives, adults' lives, elders' lives--just really a creative outlet. And we felt we had the opportunity here at Rollstone to really get the community coming in and seeing that art is accessible, and that original art can be incorporated into your everyday life, whether you buy a painting off the wall, or buy a uniquely created piece of jewelry, or come in and take an art class and create your own. We really sincerely believe that this creativity is accessible to everyone and we are trying our best to get there, and get people to come in and see that."
Part of that mission is involving children, she said, by celebrating and displaying their artwork.
"By tapping into children's art and showing it in a professional setting, it's really allowing children to see that art is valuable and important to a community," Giancola said.
The Building Blocks project has also been integrated into the city's schools, she said.
"The kids can actually come down and do the artwork they like to do and have it on Main Street and force other people to come down to Main Street to look at their artwork, which I really think is a great idea," said Jesica LeGay, 34, of Fitchburg, who encouraged residents to do their gift shopping with independent city businesses during the last holiday season via her Facebook-based movement, "Taking Back Fitchburg." LeGay brought her son and her fiance's two children to Rollstone Studios to take part in the Building Blocks project.
"By having people come downtown to see it, or by having them come here to do these things, brings more acknowledgment to the fact that there are great businesses down here, and hopefully it brings business to these places," she said.
Helen Obermeyer Simmons, resident artist at Rollstone Studios and art professor at Fitchburg State University, said she has about 30 of her graphic design and illustration students involved with the project, who will use a mixture of computer-generated and hand-drawn imagery on their blocks.
"There are a lot of creative people in Fitchburg, and it's an opportunity for people to see the talents that people have here, and also for them to share it with the public," she said. "Everyone has things to express. Some of us do it through art, some of us do it through writing and poetry."
Beck said he would like to see more than an art installation in the space where the Building Blocks project will go -- perhaps sculptures and a stage area for performances.
"I hope this will be the catalyst, and spark, for many urban community projects in downtown Fitchburg," he said.
Giancola said more Building Blocks workshops would be held throughout April at Rollstone Studios, the Boulder Art Gallery and the Fitchburg Art Museum. Anyone unable to attend any future workshops but would still like to decorate a block may make their own appointments with any of these three entities, she said.
Three more Open Studios events have been scheduled for this year, Giancola said, the next of which, on June 2, will coincide with the unveiling of the completed Building Blocks project. The others will be held on Sept. 22 and Dec. 1.
By Michael Hartwell, firstname.lastname@example.org
FITCHBURG -- Organizers from PRIDE, the in-town Fitchburg association, hope crafting a public art display on Main Street will promote urban renewal and community bonding in the area.
Jerry Beck, the marketing director for the Fitchburg Art Museum and a member of PRIDE, is the creator of the "Building Blocks" project, in which 1,000 pieces of art from community members will be arranged on Main Street.
"It will almost look like a community quilt," Beck said. "This will show the downtown is a place for creativity and community to celebrate."
The display will consist of 1,000 square pieces of plywood decorated by residents of Fitchburg. Beck said the project is targeting students in the public school district to work on the plywood canvases, but is not limiting it to young people.
"They can decide any theme that seems appropriate that could represent them," Beck said.
Each 11.5-inch-wide square will have an 8-inch circle stenciled in the middle, and the idea is to incorporate that circle into the design.
"Every culture has a square and a circle symbolic of something," said Beck, adding that the guidelines are designed to be loose to allow creativity to flourish.
"It could be the wheel of a Longsjo bicycle," Beck said. "It could have the gears of the Industrial Revolution or the faces of people they love."
The squares will be arranged on a structure attached to the fence at the parking lot at 721-725 Main St., that the city recently considered purchasing.
The display will be 140 feet long and at least 10 feet high, but Beck said it will not be a smooth rectangular banner. Instead, it will look like a Tetris game, with different columns of squares reaching different heights. He said the idea is to resemble a city skyline.
"I think it's really cool. I like the concept behind it," said Kent Bourgault, manager at Shack's clothing store and a member of PRIDE.
He said the project should help bring needed attention to the downtown.
"I say let's get the senior center involved. Let's get every aspect of the city involved," Bourgault added.
Chris Iosua, who owns both Destaré and Chaibo cafes in downtown Fitchburg, said now that the plan for the city to buy the parking lot is off the table, the project will bring a visual improvement to a blighted area.
City Councilor Joel Kaddy has already acquired several hundred plywood squares. They were donated from ModuForm furniture of Fitchburg and cut from sheets of scrap wood. Kaddy said the company will donated the rest as pieces become available.
They are being stained by LUK volunteers, and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School ROTC students hauled them to the Rollstone Studio basement for storage.
Beck said he wants to create a sound element to the Building Blocks display, which could take the form of wind chimes or scheduled live musical performances. He said the sidewalk in front of the fence where the display will be created is wide enough to allow street theater, picnic tables and benches without blocking foot traffic.
"This will help an underutilized place that is really begging for artistic beautification," Beck said.
Aspiring artists of all ages and abilities can contact Beck at Jbeck@fitchburgartmuseum.org to sign up. He expects the plywood squares to be distributed by early March and collected in late April.