Creative Glassboro plans art-filled downtown

Creative Glassboro plans art-filled downtown


Creative Glassboro, a cross-campus, cross-community organization of faculty, administrators, students, businesspeople and other lovers of the arts, celebrated the group’s one-year anniversary and its plans to produce a vibrant artistic presence in the community Dec. 6.

Meeting in the Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 W. High Street, group members said they hope to help transform downtown Glassboro through the growing practice of creative placemaking.

“Creative placemaking is about animating spaces, making spaces come alive through the arts, culture and heritage,” said Melanie Stewart, co-chair of Creative Glassboro and associate dean of the College of Performing Arts. “Our aim is to infuse the Glassboro community with arts and culture and to make Glassboro a more vibrant, enjoyable place to live.”

Stewart and others said the fast developing downtown presents a perfect canvas on which to incorporate art in public spaces. The $350 million Rowan Boulevard project, now about 75 percent complete, features a 1.75-acre town square with dedicated art space.

Creative Glassboro is looking into a variety of funding opportunities to bring public art to the downtown and recently applied for a grant through the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Public art is a movement that’s transforming communities across America,” Stewart said.

The art gallery is considered an anchor on the west section of the budding Arts & Entertainment District which runs along High Street from 301 West across to the Let’s Dance Studio at 11 E. High Street.

In addition to the town square, which was designed in part to accommodate various art, food and entertainment festivals throughout the year, developers plan a new four-story building on High Street with several small movie theaters, a restaurant, classroom space and student housing. 

Creative Glassboro plans a variety of projects intended to produce an artistic vibe downtown, some of them built around the borough’s centuries-old glassmaking heritage.

Designed in phases, these proposed projects include:

  • A recent "Yarn Bombing" event on Rowan Boulevard. Dubbed “Yarn It!” the program engaged community members in decorating the Rowan University Art Gallery with handmade works of yarn.
  • The application for a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant to commission a mural for the Town Square based on six iconic figures representing the development of Glassboro.
  • Greenroofs and decorative plantings in downtown Glassboro to promote environmental sustainability and enhance the attractiveness of the area. 
  • A multicultural music festival to bring the community together on summer evenings in the town square.

Attending the program, Borough Administrator Joseph Brigandi Jr. said local officials are excited about the continued development of a downtown arts district as well as Creative Glassboro’s vision for development in concert with public art.

“Our downtown redevelopment would not be successful without inclusion of the arts,” Brigandi said.

For more information, visit Creative Glassboro.