New Public Art and Performance Space Opens in Downtown Worcester
A new public art and performance space is now open in downtown Worcester, right in the middle of Main Street.
The newly designed Francis R. Carroll Plaza was unveiled Wednesday in front of the Hanover Theatre, complete with a towering art installation and the Bank of America Stage that will host outdoor performances.
Mayor Joe Petty Emphasizes Importance of Public Spaces
“This plaza will be an additional public space for workers and residents across the city to sit and enjoy themselves,” said Mayor Joe Petty at a ribbon cutting for the plaza. “These third spaces, parks and plazas, libraries and neighborhood restaurants are imperative to the vitality of our city. This will be a space for musical or dance performances where workers can have a meal and where neighbors can become friends.”
Delays Due to Pandemic for Worcester’s Public Art Project
First announced in 2019, the project was originally expected to be completed in 2021 but was delayed in large part due to the pandemic.
Art Installation and its Inspirations
The art installation, “Calliope” by artist Ross Miller, is a series of metal towers inspired by the Wurlitzer organ that will be lit up at night.
Recognition of Francis R. Carroll and His Contributions
The plaza was originally dedicated in 2008 to Carroll, a Worcester native and philanthropist who was an early supporter and founding member of the team that renovated the Hanover Theatre.
Carroll founded the Small Business Service Bureau in Worcester in 1968 to provide benefits to small businesses and advocate at the state and national level to reduce the cost of health insurance. He was also involved in the development of Federal Square, purchasing the Dexter, Academy, and Vuona buildings on Main Street and investing in facade renovations.
“The revitalization of the area is synonymous with the man we are honoring tonight,” said City Manager Eric Batista. “Throughout his lifetime, Frank has been a model citizen and a conduit of change consistently looking to improve the quality of life for all those around him. … Frank is a Worcester icon who embodies the spirit of collaboration, service, and entrepreneurship. He has carried out his work with compassion and integrity, touching countless lives.”
Humanitarian Efforts of Francis R. Carroll
His humanitarian efforts have included raising money for the St. John’s Food for the Poor Program to build the St. Francis Xavier Center, a soup kitchen and food pantry, and building a Living Memorial Hospital in Vietnam in honor of men from Central Massachusetts killed or missing in action in Vietnam. The hospital, built in 1967, is still open today.
“I’m proud to be part of the beautiful plaza which will benefit our entire community,” Carroll said at the event.
Worcester’s Ongoing Renaissance
The completion of the plaza is the latest in Worcester’s ongoing renaissance, which has included a proliferation of new development, dining, and culture over the past decade.
Free Concerts and Food Trucks at Francis R. Carroll Plaza
Following the opening, the plaza will host a series of free lunchtime concerts through the rest of the summer. Next Wednesday, Aug. 2, Odaiko New England will perform a Taiko drumming performance. The remaining concerts will feature Becky Bass on Aug. 9, Erin Og on Aug. 16, Rachel Sumner on Aug 23., and the Dan Gabel and Kim Hawkey Songbook Duo on Aug. 30.
Each concert will begin at noon and will be accompanied by local food trucks. In the event of inclement weather, the Wednesday concerts will be rescheduled for the following Friday; food trucks will still show up on Wednesdays, rain or shine.