Evan Plotkin is currently the President and CEO of NAI Plotkin, a Springfield-based Commercial Real Estate brokerage and property management firm in business since 1963. Evan has been very passionately involved with the transformation and renaissance of downtown Springfield. For many years, he has worked to help revitalize the City by creating urban art spaces and activating vacant under-utilized space in the downtown area. Working with John Simpon, Evan brought an art gallery and the UMASS Commonwealth College studio which provides classroom space at the MassLive building. In addition, Evan helped to curate the gallery in the lobby of 1550 Main Street featuring “James Kitchens” sculptures and artwork. Evan was on the organizing committee for Hoop City Jazz Festival and co-chair of the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival.
John Simpson is another active force in bringing art downtown. He is a Professor at UMass Amhest. For the past decade, the MassLive building has been home to UMass’s Commonwealth Honors College students Art and the City Program run by John and co-founded by Evan Plotkin. John has a long history and passion for art and has painted the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum for the Springfield Museum, the Indian Motorcycle mural for MGM-Springfield and many, many murals and arts-based initiatives in the region. For those attending his art class, and by being in a building surrounded by an urban setting, students gain a greater understanding for creating revitalization and vibrancy in a city like Springfield. Learn more about John at http://www.johnsimpsonart.net
Mike Cass aka ‘The Eraser’” is a Springfield native, employed as the City of Springfield’s Graffiti Remediator and SRA Property Manager. “As the Property Manager for the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, I got involved with many of the City’s art initiatives with John Simpson and Evan Plotkin. John was looking to create Open Air Art and I had the perfect canvass, a boarded up building. We decided to not only put musicians portraits up, but decided to encompass the entire building with John’s incredible “Artistry”. After years of erasing the menace that graffiti inflicts on the City, neighborhood by neighborhood, we have been able to erase it which has been very gratifying. To work with a group of people, whose sole purpose is to enrich our city with art and music, it has been an incredible journey and one that I hope will continue into the years to come.”
Peter Newland formed the Springfield area rock band FAT in 1969 and has performed with them in all of their various incarnations. FAT released albums on RCA and their own Dream Merchant Records and were signed to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun in 1980. In 1985 Peter moved to Nashville and worked as a staff writer for Paul Overstreet and Fitzgerald/Hartley. He had songs cut by Hank Williams Junior, Tracey Lawrence and others. He moved back to Springfield in 2002. Peter plays guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. He is also the lead vocalist. Peter says: “I love this city. Springfield is where my band FAT was born and where our music matured. The city has embraced me throughout the years in victory and defeat and it is where I make my home today.
Tim Rooke is currently the Special Assistant to the President at Westfield State University. He holds the title of Dean of the Springfield City Council where he has been a member of the City Council for the past 22 years. Tim was the Western Massachusetts Campaign Coordinator for Governor Charlie Baker and has been involved in numerous philanthropic activities in Western Massachusetts.
City Mosaic is proud to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the following: