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What's Your Vision for Artists' Row?

If you could choose, what would go in this seasonal space?

On Memorial Day, Artists' Row will reopen, adding a handful of artists and craftsman to the downtown scene.

Applications for artists interested in the seasonal spaces were due in April, and some familiar faces, including the Salem Arts Association and Fished Impressions are slated to return.

During Mayor Stanley Usovich's administration in the 90s and early 2000s, RCG (owner of , Derby Lofts, the building and various other downtown apartment and business buildings) proposed to build a commercial and residential development with public spaces and underground parking in the area where Artists' Row is currently located.

We want to know — if you had the authority (and money) to decide what could go at Artists' Row, what would you choose?

Would you keep it? Would you change it? Would you bulldoze it?

Let us know in the comments.

William Legault contributed to this report.

Cheryl Michaels May 14, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I sooo agree with everyone. The row with its artist's shops, the farmer's winter market and the Shanty makes it one of the most wonderful places in the city. My wish would be to simply keep the same purpose, but to add improvements. It's time for the city to spent some money on this area -- remodeled clean restrooms, and good lighting for street art, flags & banners, sculpture, music & other entertainment, a unique cart vendor or two (flowers? cotton candy?) -- more benches, more flowers and window boxes.
Ellen Hardy May 15, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Exhale..... The artists' row area, known as 'the flats' in the Derby Deed (which includes Old Town Hall), is a protected community space. The Artists' Row area has grown from open stalls to the metal roofed units and it has evolved over time. The Salem Arts Association (SAA) is pleased to have been awarded a three-year renewal contract this year. We are seeking a year-round home but meanwhile the contract renewal will help us program and advertise in the winter months (something we were unable to do with a year-to-year contract). Artists' Row is in the heart of downtown and we believe investment into the area is vital. If it were year-round the area would spark more foot traffic and energy than having it boarded up and vandalized. This is New England---the area should be vibrant all year! The SAA provided free music all summer, workshops, and art for sale from our 125+ members. In the past 5-6 years we have seen a blossoming of non-profit arts related groups. There is a collective energy to see the community arts grow! Given it's "heart" location —winterization would be nice. However, if you talk to any contractor they'll tell you—rebuild them properly as opposed to patch 'n fix. So here's where "vision" plays a role! Ellen Hardy, President of the SAA
Jeffrey Dykes May 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Upgrade ( rebuild ) artist row to a four season destination, shopping, exhibiting and dining. Anchoring that end of Derby and being a better gateway to Front Street, Town House Sq..
Kate May 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I agree with pretty much everyone that Artist's Row is great, but needs to fixed up and functional year-round. I also like what Ellen is saying about programming and advertising all year. I'd like to see more and a wider variety of artists in the row. keeping things open and nice-looking all year combined with more advertising could bring in more artists.
SalemWhole August 24, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Wow, I like the idea of bulldozing it! This is the most creative idea for Artists' Row I have heard yet. When the planning department is done with their puppet show we can all clap and give them high fives for being so creative.

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