Greel, a Salem resident who previously served as director of
"I love the arts," Greel said. "When this opportunity came up, I thought, 'Wow!'"
Since Greel moved to the
That last part ended up being unexpectedly relevant to her new job in
"She will not only bring a deep familiarity and expertise with the arts, but also an understanding of our own local assets, issues and challenges here in
"Getting Ms. Greel for this position is a coup for Salem," City Councilor
As the city's art planner, Greel will work with the newly formed
Greel said a major focus will be making sure Salem builds on its reputation as an arts destination "locally, regionally and nationally."
"I think Salem already has a lot of great things going on," she said. "This is really just adding more."
Filling the position of public art planner is the third step in the city's Public Art Master Plan; the first two were formally establishing the art initiative and appointing people to the related commission.
The position was originally intended to be a clerk for the commission, "but with the double opportunity of Deb's availability and the need to have a plan moving forward for the building (
"It will be budget-neutral and not add to our bottom line," he said.
As for what kind of public art projects might emerge in the future, Greel said it's still unknown, but she and the commission will be keeping an open mind.
"So many people think of it as, 'We'll put a statue out,'" she said. "It can be a lot of different things that maybe we're not thinking about right now."
The next steps in the Public Art Master Plan are to identify funding sources, assess the current state of Salem's public art and develop a first-year work plan.
Greel's position must still be approved by the
PAINTING OUTSIDE THE BOX
Speaking of public art, Salem recently selected six artists to paint utility boxes around the city as part of its ArtBox 2014 program. Here's what will be going on.
Work: "Inner Pieces"
Description: "Inner Pieces is an open window into the secret, inner workings of these metal boxes. The possibilities are revealed from behind the thin metal veil. The whimsical style is meant to create a depth through trompe l'oeil, catching the eye of vehicle as well as pedestrian foot traffic."
Location: Margin and Mill streets
Description: "The electrical plugs refer to the electrical box and will be painted rainbow colors with bold, black outlines. The colors and design model energy and movement."
Work: "Coastal Shapes"
Location: North and Federal streets
Description: "Using geometric shapes, I interpret the natural forms seen in Salem's rocky coastline. The use of such shapes brings an aspect of Salem's natural landscape into the contemporary architectural landscape. The design intends to remind viewers of what can be seen on our own shoreline."
Work: "The Great Eye"
Description: "The symbol of the eye has held great importance to human societies across the span of time. It is a symbol of knowledge and infinite wisdom, of secrets and mystical societies."
Location: South River Harborwalk
Description: "From the devoted care of cats and dogs at
Work: "Over the Bridge at Dusk"
Location: North and Foster streets
Description: "Salem has some of the most breathtaking sunsets, and as I run the beach or the historic streets, I cannot help but feel blessed to call this my home city."
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