The Brockton Cultural Council, under the leadership of Jill Wiley and in partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council, appointed Mary Beth Meehan Brockton's 2010 Artist in Residence, supporting the development of her expanding portfolio of photographs exploring Brockton's changing identity. With the support of Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti, Meehan publicly launched the "City of Champions" project.
Corey Dolgon, Professor of Sociology and Director of Community-Based Learning at Stonehill College, then developed a curriculum using the installation as text in his Urban Sociology class, as well as pairing Stonehill College students of Sociology with Brockton Public School students, who are now exploring their identities in relation to the installation, and creating their own artistic responses.
Thanks to a very generous grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, the photographic banners were produced and installed on the exteriors of Brockton buildings in September of 2011.
Ron Ferrigno, a Brockton native and owner of Sign Design, Inc., a Brockton-based sign company, created and installed the banners well under retail cost.
Chazy Dowaliby, Editor of The Enterprise, has committed her resources as the project's Media Partner, designing and printing walk-related maps and brochures, as well as creating a dedicated microsite at champions.wickedlocal.com in order to further the public's interaction with the installation.
Joe Angelo, of Joe Angelo's Cafe, Brockton, has donated his Main Street restaurant and function hall as headquarters of the walking tour, offering coffee, donuts and refreshments throughout the project festivities and to all of the walkers.
To the owners who offered their buildings for the installation:
Joe Angelo, Joe Angelo's Cafe
Mark Linde, Brockton Community Access
Bob Malley, City of Brockton Parking Authority
John & Paul Merian, Tuxedos by Merian
Pastor Michael Walker, Messiah Baptist Church
To the following for their generous donations of time, energy, and professional expertise:
Mayor Linda Balzotti, The City of Brockton
Chris Danemeyer, Proun Design
Downtown Brockton Association
Jim Gabriel, Boston Visuals
Lucinda Hitchcock, Rhode Island School of Design
Jason Hogue, Highchair Designhaus
Hilary Horton, Editor
Michele McDonald, Photo Editor
Tom Monahan, Brockton City Councilor Ward 2
Ted Peffer, Iolabs, Inc.
Mary Virginia Swanson, M. V. Swanson & Associates, Inc.
Mary Waldron, Brockton 21st Century Economic Development Corp.
Haley Wood, Mass Humanities
Most importantly, to the many Brocktonians who allowed me into their lives to photograph, and to share their images on this scale, thank you for that privilege. -MBM