Inspiring a better Springfield through Theater

Rumors of a New Day, playing on September 13, 2010

Social change requires passion, creativity and dedication. It should then be no surprise that the arts often play a pivotal role in transforming neighborhoods or whole cities around. For example, Cleveland has recently invested in its Gordon Square Arts District as a path to economic development. Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and Professor at the University of Toronto has even highlighted artists as part of the “creative class” of people who are essential to the future economy.

But ticket sales are not the sole source of the art’s impact on cities, it’s also its ability to provoke the emotion, inspiration, intuition and vision that can transform whole communities.  In the words of Hashima Moja, Musical Director of Teatro V!da:

[art has the] ability to open up the hearts and souls of people and allow us to look inside ourselves and feel, so that we can create a truly rounded and whole society full of emotional intelligence and not just intellect and power.

In that context, Teatro V!da will be presenting “Rumors of a New Day”, a play that invites the audience to believe in themselves and leave their own “bubble”. The show promises to be a joyous celebration of Springfield and the Arts, don’t miss it!

To purchase tickets, contact the City Stage box office.


Communities Press City Council on Biomass Incinerator

On Wednesday, August 11, 2010, community groups from Springfield, Massachusetts came together to ask the City Council to revoke the siting permit for Palmer Renewable Energy, which would use demolition waste streams as an energy source. As previously showcased by The Springfield Institute, neighborhoods in the City have two primary concerns about using this technology:

  1. That the incineration process will decrease, increase harmful particulate matter, reduce air quality and lead to adverse health effects for the community like asthma and other problems.
  2. That demolition waste is not a clean, renewable energy source which State and Local governments should be promoting.

For more information about community organizing around this issue, visit Springfield

Wednesday Ride #5 Postponed

The Springfield Institute is resting its bikes this week

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the fifth installment of our “Wednesday Rides” will be postponed until next week on August 25th. Therefore, we will not be meeting in front of the YMCA tomorrow as usual.

Stay tuned details of the next Wednesday Ride coming soon. Meanwhile, you can see videos from our previous rides here:

Ride 1: Springfield’s Bike Path

Ride 2: North End neighborhoods and Gerena School.

Ride 3: Mason Square & McKnight neighborhoods

We’re not alone: News from across the Rust Belt

Aproximate area of US "Rust Belt" cities in orange

As reviewed in an article from few weeks ago, our communities in Springfield and Holyoke can take advantage of regional and national resources intended to serve post-industrial cities across the United States. One such useful resource is, which describes itself as:

a site intended to consolidate thoughtful, constructive stories about post-industrial cities across the Rust Belt. It was developed by two former newspaper reporters with ties to five Rust Belt cities, and it is maintained with help from half a dozen others from across the region

Similar to the springfield institute, they provide multi-author, multi-media rich perspectives on the struggles and successes that will transform our cities moving forward. We salute the entrepreneurship of the site’s contributors and recommend it to our readers.

El Sol Latino – July 2010: Celebration of Latino Culture

July 2010 Cover

This month’s issue of El Sol Latino highlights El Festival de la Familia Hispana (the Hispanic Family Festival), which will take place from July 15 to July 18 in Springdale Park, and promotes the Western Massachusetts Puerto Rican Day Parade on July 18 in Holyoke. Every year the festival recognizes Puerto Rican and other Latino individuals who contribute to the well being of the community, while the parade celebrates the Puerto Rican culture and heritage in the State.

The periodical features a recent study by the Carsey Institute, which indicates that almost half of US newborns were people of color, as compared to aproximately 40% in the year 2000. This ESL edition also showcases notable achievements by Latino individuals like Wilma Ortiz (Massachusetts Teacher of the Year) and several helpful sections like Robert O’Leary legal column.

Pick up a copy of July’s El Sol Latino or browse through its pages by clicking here.