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CT Checkup: Art, flower installations representing diverse cultures, brightening businesses set up in downtown Meriden

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MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Meriden’s annual Daffodil Festival was canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns, but the city has found another way to spread that same positivity those flowers usually bring. 

Lisa Biesak, the downtown fellow for the City of Meriden, told News 8 Wednesday, “The city was really ready to put forth something for the community to latch onto and believe in.” 

RELATED: List of events canceled or postpones, businesses closed in CT because of coronavirus

In partnership with the nonprofit ‘Making Meriden Business Center,’ the city brought in an artist to decorate the area, in a floral theme of course, and to lift some spirits. 

Michael Genovese is the visual artist who’s created multiple wooden flower cutouts that are being placed throughout the city. 

When creating the concept, his goal was quite simple. 

“Just to give you a little burst of color, heighten the vibration of the day and that’s it,” he explained. “How can we heighten the urban environment with just a touch?” 

While there is a daffodil installation, he also took things one step further by using flowers from different cultures to represent the diversity here in the Silver City. 

“It’s not only about flowers but it’s like look, we have all of these cultures in Meriden,” Genovese said. “We have Puerto Rican, Dominican, Jamaican–so I wanted to do a Caribbean garden.” 

In addition to art installations, there will also be a series of window splashes painted on storefronts throughout the town featuring messages of hope. 

“It’s a diversion from all of these uncertain times and maybe gives people a little reason to deviate off that a little bit and make them feel a little better,” said Biesak. 

And the city hopes this art will not only lift spirits, but promote the economic development much needed when this pandemic is over. 

“It’s also a great way to get feet on the street, get people to come down and realize it’s a great opportunity, you can open a storefront business,” she explained. “And it makes it just a fun, lively place that’s thriving. That’s really what our goal is.” 

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