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By Francesca Kefalas
For The Bulletin
Posted Oct. 31, 2013 @ 10:35 pm
Putnam’s downtown is having a good week thanks to the Empty Spaces Project.
Tonight, Putnam will play a stop on musician Derek Nicholetto’s “Just Panic and Get It Over With” tour, and one of its empty storefronts, 156 Main Street, has found a new tenant — another art-inspired business.
“We do have a lot of momentum going right now,” said Paul Toussaint, owner of The Gallery on Main Street and one of the driving forces behind Empty Spaces, which fills empty downtown storefronts with art exhibits and is sponsoring the show.
Nicholetto opened his world tour in New York City in July. Nicholetto invites artists to interpret any of the six songs on his EP, “Just Panic and Get it Over With,” and create works based upon the music. Putnam is his second stop.
The art show opens at 5 p.m. at 114 Main St. — Toussaint’s gallery, which has been expanded only for the show. Nicholetto performs at The Stomping Ground at 7 p.m. A number of local artists have contributed artwork to the show, and downtown restaurants are using the music to inspire food and drink specials.
“The beauty of this project is witnessing how various artists interpret the same song through their own visual medium,” Nicholetto said. “For example, in July’s NYC show, the song ‘Mother Numb It’ inspired a four-foot chandelier, two sculptures, a few paintings and a photograph. And now, I’ve gotten to preview the ‘Mother Numb It’ piece by Paul Toussaint for the Connecticut event, as well as some other works from the Putnam-area artists. It’s thrilling to see the variety of art that emerges from cities big and small on each stop of the tour.”
Toussaint said events like the Nicholetto opening have drawn people to downtown Putnam, and that helped to find interested tenants for 156 Main St. A couple from Hampton has rented the spot and opened an art-inspired business, which will be called The Shattered Pallette Art Gallery.
Delpha Very, economic and community development director for Putnam, said Empty Spaces has helped the town market itself in new ways.
“It’s an additional niche for revitalizing the the downtown area,” Very said. “It brings people in, and people spend their money in our shops and restaurants.”
Mayor Peter Place said the arts have helped revitalize downtown Putnam in just a few short years.
“People are finding we have a lot of cultural things to offer,” Place said. “We are offering entertainment on a 12-month basis now.”