El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke

El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke is a cultural placekeeping project celebrating the Puerto Rican Cultural Area of Holyoke. The project commissions public art works, including banners, large-scale art works, dynamic lighting, murals, food trucks, and art festivals on Main Street, to reflect the vital culture of the surrounding neighborhoods. El Corazón/ The Heart of Holyoke aims to develop spaces and places that are reflective of the Center City community, celebrate cultural heritage, and promote economic opportunity in the city.

El Corazón / The Heart of Holyoke is possible through the generous support from community members in and outside of Holyoke who donated through the “Commonwealth Places” Crowdfunding Campaign in spring 2020. The crowdfunding campaign raised a total of $25,260, which was matched with a $20,000 grant by the Massachusetts Development & Finance Agency (Mass Development). El Corazón was initally developed through a Public Art and Creative Placemaking Master Planning process supported by an NEA “Our Town” award. 

The Center for Design Engagement (CDE) serves as Artistic Director for this project, the City of Holyoke’s Office of Planning & Economic Development (OPED) is the lead City agency on this project, and Nueva Esperanza, Inc. is the lead organization for community engagement. Shey Rivera-Rios is lead curator and artist mentor for Phase II of the project. Other partners include Mass Development, Holyoke Gas and Electric, the Member Organizations of the El Corazón Advisory Board including Enlace de Familias, South Holyoke Neighborhood Association, One Holyoke Community Development Corporation, Providence Ministries, Holyoke Media, Paper City Clothing Company, Radioplasma Podcast Holyoke – a Holyoke community media project, El Sol Latino, Holyoke Public Schools, and the Puerto Rican Cultural Project.

The most up to date information about El Corazón de Holyoke can be found on the project webpage at Nueva Esperanza and by following the project on Facebook.

You can also learn more about the project by watching the Patronicity video and listening to the RadioPlasma podcast.






Joseph Krupczynski, Center for Design Engagement Holyoke Office of Planning & Economic Development Nueva Esperanza. Project Team: Clayton Beaudoin, Michaela Goodrich, Nick Jeffway


National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” Award

$50,000 + $70,000 Matching Funds

Finalist, 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge