Artist Oliver Schemm shows off his interactive sculpture called "Helm." The piece and three other works are on display in Springfield's newest attraction, Great Hall.
"If we are talking about multi-use, but also the combination of history along with bringing it forward into our time. I love that combination of old and new," Schemm said.
The huge art space is one facet of the former factory's new look. A $13 million investment is transforming the Fellows Gear Shaper building, bringing the building into the 21st century. A pharmacy, deli and bank are other potential tenants. But the building has been around since the late 1800s.
"Honoring that part of Springfield's history which is so important to the war effort and to the men who spent their entire careers here. Honoring that and them saying OK, let's see what the next step is," project coordinator Nina Jamison said.
Great Hall provides one entry into the Springfield Health Center. Work on that section of the revitalization project is continuing. Artist Carolyn Enz Hack, who is displaying her piece entitled "Sowing Good Will," loves the space and the location by the health center.
"Art is one way that they can relax and contemplate and enjoy the idea of being able to have a healthy life," Enz Hack said.
Project coordinators and artists say a healthy community often revolves around art.
"Art brings a community together, art creates energy art makes dialog happen between people," Schemm said.
The grand opening of Great Hall will take place this Friday; an event that in some ways represents the future of this small industrial town, while celebrating its past.
The space will be open to the public every Thursday, Friday and Saturday all summer long. There is no charge to get in. The health center is expected to open early in the fall.
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