UTICA, NY…The grounds of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute will be transformed in to a vibrant community cultural and entertainment space as the result of an $819,500 grant that was awarded as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award announced Tuesday in Utica by NY State Lt. Governor Kathleen Hochul
The proposed project will take underutilized land on the front grounds of Munson-Williams and create a 49,000-square-foot public-access park setting stretching from the front of 324 Genesee Street to Cottage Place. The area will feature new landscaping, lighting, walkways, sculptures, and seating, and will utilize the Museum of Art’s iconic “floating” staircase as amphitheater seating for events. It will be anchored by the 19th-century Fountain Elms building and the Philip Johnson-designed Museum of Art, which are free and open to the public. Both buildings are on the State and National registers of historic buildings.
Munson-Williams President and CEO Anna D’Ambrosio said receiving this grant makes possible seemingly infinite opportunities to better serve the community. “We are fully committed to creating transformational experiences for our community and to partnering with local organizations,” she said. “This expanse of greenspace will further enhance the quality of life in the city and create a dynamic neighborhood focal point.”
As the largest expanse of green space on Genesee Street, the park will help transform the Oneida Square neighborhood and create an inviting gateway to downtown Utica. The park will be activated with new programming including festivals, block parties, light shows, art demonstrations and installations, pop-up events, and free public performances, in cooperation with local partners.
The award to Munson-Williams is one of 16 transformational projects for Utica. The strategic investments in Utica will redevelop underutilized buildings, improve infrastructure including parks, foster new business, and bolster arts and cultural offerings.