PICTURED FROM LEFT to right are Executive Director at the YMCA of Metro North Katelyn Papadopoulos, State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian, Melrose City Planner Denise Gaffey, Jonah Chiarenza, Melrose DPW Director Elena Proakis Ellis, Melrose City Ward 7 Councilor Ryan Williams, Muralist Sagie Vangelina, Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur, Executive Director of Follow Your Art Community Studios Kris Rodolico, Melrose Senior City Planner Lori Massa, and Assistant Melrose City Planner Maya Noviski. (Photo by Melrose Executive Director of Economic Development Lauren Grymek)
MELROSE — The City of Melrose recently celebrated the completion of improvements to Central Terrace, a new public space in downtown Melrose that features a mural by Afro-Dominican muralist Sagie Vangelina, seating for dining, and festive lighting for all to enjoy. The new space is located between the Rising Eagle Publick House restaurant and the Melrose Family YMCA.
The beautifying and functional improvements to the space were made possible through Melrose Makes, an element of the City’s Wayfinding & Creative Placemaking Initiative launched in 2020 in partnership with Follow Your Art Community Studios to enhance the vitality of the City’s public spaces and promote economic development. As part of the initiative, Vangelina and eight other artists were commissioned by the City’s Office of Planning and Community Development to create art in public spaces throughout Melrose.
“I’m grateful to share my work with the Melrose community and for the opportunity to help create a special open space in downtown,” said Vangelina, who lives in Providence, R.I. and creates art across New England. “Creating has always been a natural form of therapy where I can fully express myself. My work is fueled by life experiences, constantly evolving, portraying themes of reflection and love.”
Throughout her journey, Vangelina has assisted world-renowned artists and built a foundation to push through challenges innovatively. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Previously, the Central Terrace was an infrequently traveled one-way, narrow alleyway. In addition to the mural, seating, and lighting, the Department of Public Works repaved the alley and closed the curb off, resulting in an additional on-street parking spot downtown.
“We are thankful for our strong partnership with Follow Your Arts Community Studios, who helped us bring these projects to life,” said City Planner Denise Gaffey. “Previously the alleyway was limited in function, lacked visibility and usability to the public. This placemaking initiative has allowed the City to continue to support a people-focused and welcoming downtown.
Residents are encouraged to stop by Central Terrace, check out the mural and bring their breakfast, lunch, or dinner and enjoy the space with family, friends and neighbors. To learn more about public art in Melrose visit https://www.cityofmelrose.org/office-planning-and-community-development/pages/wayfinding-creative-placemaking-initiative.
The Melrose Makes project and the Central Terrace Improvements were funded by a Shared Streets and Spaces grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and through funding that Mayor Paul Brodeur secured for Melrose in 2019 in his previous role as a State Representative. The City hopes to develop a public art program that will continue long into the future.