York City's art infatuation spreads to West Market Street


The lanky rooster and the horseshoe cat on North George Street need some new neighbors.

Downtown Inc, the group that promotes York City's core district, is pooling resources to launch the fourth phase of a public-art project that's been sprucing up city streets for several years.

Next up for an artsy makeover is the first block of West Market Street.

For a total cost of $10,000, Downtown Inc plans to commission and install three pieces — a bench, a planter and a trash can.

Artists have just a few more days to submit their concepts to a committee, which will select the three designs.

Each artist will be paid $2,000 for their work, said Meagan Feeser, Downtown Inc's director of marketing.

Submission information is available at

A familiar approach: Merchants on West Market Street chose the more practical approach to public art, similar to Salvaging Creativity artist Patrick Sells' 2010 installation of three planters and two benches on North Beaver Street.

North George Street merchants opted for 10 sculptures — like the rooster and the cat unveiled in 2012 — that pique a passer-by's curiosity.

But practical pieces still require creativity, Feeser said.

"We've encouraged them to think industrial arts and to think of York County's history, agriculturally and in terms of manufacturing," Feeser said. "We're looking for pieces that incorporate those sort of industrial-type materials, but really that's open to interpretation."

Feeser suggested the artists also keep in mind that next year is the 275th anniversary of York's beginning as a town.

"These pieces ideally will be installed in 2016," Feeser said. "That would be a nice tie-in."

Fundraising: Meanwhile, merchants on the block are raising funds to match a $5,000 grant from the York County Community Foundation.

My Girlfriend's Wardrobe, a clothing store at 41 W. Market St., will host a "shopping party" Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the art project.

Though there's not technically a phase five planned, the public art project has been successful and will probably extend into other downtown neighborhoods like Royal Square and Weco, Feeser said.

Studies have shown people put a high value on the aesthetics of their cities, and that affects quality of life, Feeser said.

"What we're finding is that the beauty of a place, and art certainly falls under that category, really is what makes a place feel like home to people," she said.

— Reach Erin James at