Community Building Through Public Art

Problem

Salem’s downtown pedestrian mall was in need of a variety of improvements; it was tired, in need of maintenance and repair, was not pedestrian friendly, and had vacant storefronts. Without improvements, the area lacked a strong sense of community and economic activity was hindered.

Solution

Mayor Driscoll is leading the planning stages of a downtown redesign based on feedback from residents who identified public art as a means to create a great public space and enhance the economic development potential of this area. The city is starting a formal public art initiative through development of a master plan for public art, adoption of an Ordinance by Council to establish a Public Art Ordinance, and the hiring of the first Public Art Planner. This is a smart investment for everyone because art and culture add vibrancy to neighborhoods, bring people together, attract tourists to visit and stay longer, and serve as an economic development tool.