Lynn Community selects Mt. Vernon Street Plaza Public Art

The votes are in, and the Lynn community has chosen Kevin Orlosky’s Laces of Lynn as the city’s newest public art installation, Mayor Thomas M. McGee announced. 

Orlosky’s proposal was one of five final concepts for the “Lynnstallation,” a piece of public art to be installed at the Mt. Vernon Street Plaza. 

The colorful sculpture draws inspiration from Lynn’s history as a shoe mecca. Interwoven metal pieces in the shape of shoelaces will include words that Lynn community members submit to describe themselves. 

“I’m very excited and honored to be selected for Lynnstallation,” said Orlosky. “Community engagement is at the heart of my work and I believe it is important for public art to represent the entire community. I am really looking forward to meeting all the different people and learning about unique details that make Lynn a great place to live.” 

The City of Lynn, Downtown Lynn Cultural District, Lynn Public Arts Commission and Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) worked together to commission the piece after identifying a need to mark the cultural district’s gateways, engage local residents more directly in the public art process and draw visitors to downtown Lynn.  

A series of workshops with community members in 2019 helped shape a call for artists, which received almost four dozen responses in 2020. Five artists received grants to develop their concepts fully and present them at a June 24 community meeting.  

Over 200 residents weighed in on the five concepts, with about 30 percent voting for Laces of Lynn. 

On Tuesday, August 3, the Lynn Public Arts Commission affirmed the public’s vote.  

“I think the community made a terrific selection with Laces of Lynn and I’m looking forward to seeing it installed,” said Mayor Tom McGee. “This piece relates to an important part of Lynn history, but also provides a tangible way for Lynners to get involved in the design of the art. As we saw with the Black Lives Matter mural on Essex Street, these projects are all the more powerful when the community can participate directly.”  

As part of his project proposal, Orlosky created a robust community engagement plan. In the coming months, he plans to hold 10 to 20 guided workshops in partnership with local businesses, nonprofits, community organizations and the general public. During these workshops, Orlosky will ask attendees to submit words – in any language – to describe themselves. These phrases will be included in the final sculpture.  

 Orlosky will also coordinate an in-depth partnership with RAW Art Works, and plans to work with 100 young artists to help them design their own pieces of public art. These designs will be exhibited as the Laces of Lynn unveiling.  

 MAPC’s Arts and Culture Department lead the engagement and selection process for the piece, which will mark the gateway to the Downtown Lynn Cultural District, one of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s officially designated cultural districts. 

 “Public art can draw people in, make people think, and bring people together – I hope Laces of Lynn will do that and more,” said Marc Draisen, MAPC’s Executive Director. “MAPC is proud to have coordinated the selection process for this unique piece and help grow Lynn’s capacity to solicit community-driven public art in the future.” 

 This project is funded by the Department of Community Development in the City of Lynn, as well as in-kind support from MAPC. To learn more about opportunities to work with design of Laces of Lynn and read the proposal in full, visit: 

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