NORWALK, Conn. – It’s time to shake off those winter blues and explore downtown Norwalk. Norwalk 2.0 has installed fence art banners at City Hall, Mill Hill, Freese Park, and the library. These exhibits highlight the history of the downtown and encourage walkers to look at sites in the downtown a little differently. Historic photos provide a glimpse of what was there before while standing near what is here now. In many cases the selected photos show historic buildings that are still standing. Of course Freese Park has only existed since shortly after the 1955 flood. But the impact of what was lost can be seen by what has replaced it.
Inside City Hall is a collection of over 30 WPA-era murals that are on display following restoration that was originally completed in the 1980’s. The playful signs invite the public to view the murals. The Norwalk Arts Commission offers a printed map inside City Hall with the locations of each mural.
The Norwalk Public Library, itself a Carnegie-era building, houses not only the largest collection of historic documents about Norwalk, but two WPA murals and two recent additions commissioned by Norwalk 2.0 as part of last year’s FACES of Norwalk project.
While the raging waters exhibit at City Hall tells the story of the 1955 flood, the installation at Freese Park puts the damage captured at the time at one of the key sites affected. The exhibit also depicts earlier eras when shops lined Main Street and Wall Street.
Norwalk is fortunate to have maintained its original town green since colonial days. The buildings around the green reflect some of the oldest architecture in the area.
This project is part of the series of ongoing projects undertaken by Norwalk 2.0 to provide cultural connections to the residents, businesses and visitors to Norwalk. In addition to numerous individual donations and foundation grants, Norwalk 2.0 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.
Downloadable maps with expanded information are available at the project website.
For more information visit the website.
Jackie Lightfield is co-founder of Norwalk 2.0.