Rockland Creative Placemaking

Rockland Creative Placemaking


Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration

Arts & Culture

Rockland Creative Placemaking

Sole of Rockland

2019 Report

Sole of Rockland:
A Creative Placemaking Project

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Shoeshine Cart Sole of Rockland


Identifying the growing presence of artists in Rockland as an asset for ongoing, cross-sectoral revitalization efforts, the Town convened a cross-sectoral committee called REiMAGINE ROCKLAND to guide a comprehensive effort to revitalize the central business district along Union Street.

As part of REiMAGINE ROCKLAND, an Arts & Culture Subcommittee was tasked with finding ways to transform downtown Rockland through the work of artists and the arts. This subcommittee identified creative placemaking as a promising opportunity to engage artists. To help incorporate Arts & Culture into Rockland’s downtown revitalization, the Town of Rockland requested technical assistance from the MAPC Arts & Culture Division to develop a creative placemaking strategy around a demonstration project that would be submitted to the Commonwealth Places program in February, 2018, and executed between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.


MAPC provided technical assistance to the Town of Rockland to develop and implement a creative placemaking project in collaboration with the local community to showcase the positive impact of integrating arts and culture into Downtown Rockland’s revitalization.

The project deliverable, “Sole of Rockland,” is a fully developed creative placemaking concept and demonstration created in collaboration with local artists, Union Street businesses, and Town staff. In addition, MAPC provided the Town of Rockland with a creative placemaking assessment to help evaluate potential project sites that can generate a permanent creative placemaking project.

Sole of Rockland

Sole of Rockland is an interactive art project led by Artist-in-Residence Carolyn Lewenberg to strengthening the Rockland Farmer’s Market and supporting the REIMAGINE ROCKLAND downtown revitalization effort. Visitors to the 2018 Rockland Day and Rockland Farmer’s Market had a chance to paint their own wet footprints with watercolor paints. These prints reappear in an artistic map of downtown Rockland that highlights the places that local residents, workers, and visitors value, as well as in artisitic sidewalk paintings at each location.

Recalling Rockland's history of shoe manufacturing, the image of the shoeprint is also a metaphor to reimagine the role of shoes from a core element of Rockland's identity into a gateway to it's bright future. As an outgrowth of REIMAGINE ROCKLAND, the project demonstrates the potential for art to bring the community together and enliven Union Street.


For more information about this project, please contact Annis Sengupta at or 617-933-0774.

Project Details

At a replica shoeshine cart with "Sole of Rockland" written on it, a woman prepares to create a shoeprint.
At the Rockland Farmer's Market, community members could contribute their "soles" at an imitation shoeshine cart.

As part of this campaign, MAPC assisted with a video shoot for the Patronicity project webpage. Video interviews were shot in the studios of Kim Smith and Scott Ketcham, artists at the Sandpaper Factory.

Interviewees included:

  • Robin Cook Hill, a local artist and Farmer's Market Coordinator;
  • Mike Mullen, a member of the Rockland Board of Selectmen and chair of ReImagine Rockland; and
  • Shannon McDonald, a local artist active in the ReImagine Rockland effort

The Sole of Rockland campaign was a community-based public art project highlighting Rockland's lively, creative spirit and captures this spirit through portraits of the towns many "soles." The project was led by MAPC's first artist-in-residence, Carolyn Lewenberg.

Rockland residents had the opportunity to contribute art at a creative placemaking pop-up at Rockland Day on June 16, 2018 and at the Rockland Farmer's Market in July and August. In mid-September, a storefront at the Rice Building at 326 Union Street will begin displaying this art.

Residents who made these paintings also placed pins into a map to show their favorite places in Rockland. The composite map shows Rockland's 11 most popular downtown destinations, each of which features sidewalk art created from a selection of the paintings displayed at the Rice Building.

Image shows portable shoeshine cart with watercolor shoeprint paintings hanging on it

On April 2, 2018, the “Sole of Rockland” concept was accepted to the Commonwealth Places program and MAPC helped Rockland launch a Patronicity crowd-funding campaign, which successfully hit fundraising targets and was matched by MassDevelopment.

On Sept. 14, 2018, Carolyn Lewenberg and Annis Sengupta worked with Rockland High School Art Teacher Cheryl Thompson and her students  to paint shoe print stencils throughout town.

Image shows sidewalk art of a blue painted shoe print, with "Sole of Rockland" written above. On Sept. 22, an unveiling event was held as part of Bulldog Pride Weekend. MAPC presented the town with a new map and brochures about the project and led visitors on a short walking tour to visit some of the stencil locations and to view a selection of original paintings hung in the windows of the Rice Building at 346 Union Street.

Watch the final video below or visit the Patronicity page!

Thank You!

This project was made possible by a technical assistance grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). MAPC staff provided planning, artistic vision and guidance, outreach, and management support to the Town of Rockland. A successful crowdfunding campaign through Patronicity and a matching grant from MassDevelopment brought together residents’ support and state funding to cover the project’s capital costs. The Town of Rockland and the REiMAGINE ROCKLAND committee oversaw the project, managed outreach, communications, and volunteer recruitment and brought it gracefully to a successful completion. We are grateful to all of our local donors and volunteers for making this project possible.

Thank you to Andy Heley for permission to use the storefront of the Rice building to display this amazing collection of community-created art.

MAPC Project Artists
Carolyn Lewenberg and Mallory Nezam

MAPC Project Manager
Annis Sengupta

MAPC Project Staff
Michael Rosenberg, Iolando Spinola, and Kit Un

Town of Rockland Project Leads
Marcy Birmingham, Interim Town Administrator
Christine Flaherty, REIMAGINE ROCKLAND Volunteer

Gold Sponsors ($1000 or more)
Susan Page-Thompson

Silver Sponsors ($250 - $999)
Rockland Bar & Grill
Alan Curtis
Deirdre Hall
Chris Hardie
Jeff Phelps
Cornelius and Jean Regan
Robert Sullivan

Bronze Sponsors ($100 - $249)
Janet Cann
Laurie Corbett
Paul Curtin
Sarah Freitas
Janelle & Chris Hussey
Colleen Murphy
Trish Pierce
Alisan Terrenzi Pomeroy
Katie Walo

Sole of Rockland Volunteers
Marcy Birmingham
Robin Cook Hill
Linda Downer
Pat Foley
Christine Flaherty
Shannon McDonald
Michael Mullen
Megan Murphy
Donna Roine
Cheryl Thompson
Rockland High School Art Students

Rockland High School Volunteers
Cheryl Thompson, Art Teacher
Crystal Arena
Emily Bugbee
Joseph Bugbee
Jaylene Cordan
Jordan Delorey
Jailene Escalera
David Ferrara
Katrina Gamble
Callie Gillan
Mercedez Johnson
Emmy Kelley
Ayanha Lascase
Sarah MacDonald
Lydia McWilliams
Rose Ripley
Aria Robinson
Nichole Skinner
Brady Thacker
Jenna Whitten

Sole of Rockland Farmer's Market Pop-up Participants
Ellie Beals
Jasper Beals
Tina Cary
Joan Coulstring
Liliana Domingoes
Meghan Dubois
Elin Duffy
John Ellard III
Linda May Ellis
Ann Gardner
Stacy Gardner
Sarah Kane
Cathy Lennon
Felicia Lennon
Robin Mahrouk
Janet Painter
Kristin Perston
Trish Pierce
Liz Pinske
Avery Pomeroy
Leland Pomeroy
Luciana Pumphrey
Suzanne Pumphrey
Casey Regan
Jen Schoonover
Jared Valanzola
Doug Walo
Katie Walo
Kathleen Walusky
Carl Zangerl