Commonwealth Places Campaign Launched for Sidewalk Poetry in Newton

January 30, 2019

$7,500 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopmentā€™s Commonwealth Places Initiative


Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Lily Reynolds, City of Newton, 617-796-1140

MassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with the City of Newton and Newton Community Pride for Make Poetry Concrete, a public art initiative to install sidewalk poetry along commercial corridors in Newton. Individuals of all ages will be invited to submit poems to a selection committee, which will choose up to 10 poems to produce into molds that will be stamped into the city’s concrete sidewalks. By infusing works of literature on sidewalks in Newton’s villages and near public schools, parks, and transit stations, the initiative aims to inspire residents and visitors to explore the city and patronize its businesses and restaurants. Organizers will host launch events to dedicate the poems, and the city will install wayfinding signs in commercial centers to help visitors locate the artwork.

“Public art has the wonderful ability to engage residents and visitors, draw foot traffic to nearby shops and restaurants, and inspire a community,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We look forward to helping the City of Newton and Newton Community Pride bring sidewalk poetry to the city’s business districts and neighborhoods.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $7,500 by March 29 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program. Learn more and donate at

“We are very excited for the Make Poetry Concrete project, which is a great way to bring literature and art into our daily lives,” said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. “Newton has many accomplished poets, young and old, and we hope they all submit an original poem to the contest so the jury can select the very best 10 poems to be stamped in the concrete of Newton’s sidewalks.”

Commonwealth Places is a collaborative initiative from MassDevelopment and Patronicity that leverages public support for placemaking projects through crowdfunding and a matching grant from MassDevelopment. The program engages residents in the development of strategic projects in their towns and cities. In November 2018, MassDevelopment announced $500,000 in funding for the third year of the program, which has supported successful campaigns across the Commonwealth, from Northampton to Hyannis. Communities, nonprofits, and other entities can learn more about these successful projects, donate to ongoing campaigns, and apply at

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units.