Client: City of Lynn, Massachusetts
Location: Lynn, MA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $103,000
Laces of Lynn is an immersive, community activated public artwork which ties the history of shoemaking in Lynn to its values as a diverse and growing contemporary city. Hopeful and inspiring, this colorful, iconic sculpture engaged with over 450 Lynn residents to submit one word they felt best described themselves. The submitted words were water jet cut into giant steel shoelaces that interweave and support each other to represent community strength and connection. The wavelike form of the sculpture references the presence of the ocean for this coastal location. The varied colors and languages celebrates the diversity of Lynn.
The goals of the project were to create a signature artwork for the city center that represented the whole commmunity, including the large and historically under-represented immigrant population of the city. The sculpture needed to activate an empty plaza and be centered around community engagement and community building. Central Square Plaza is adjacent to the train station, with good visibility from a major intersection, and consistent pedestrian traffic.
We conducted eleven public workshops in partnership with community organizations. Word submissions were also received online in conjunction with a social media campaign and through drop boxes located at local businesses. We created an educational slideshow about the project which was presented at four elementary schools and several community organizations. We received 457 word submissions, which was curated into 251 unique adjectives.
The variety of languages in the sculpture are related to the prevalence of speakers in the community as recorded by the Lynn Public Schools and local census data. Languages represented in the sculpture are: English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Arabic.