ITEM PHOTO BY JIM WILSON
Al Wilson, founder and executive director of Beyond Walls, stands with photos of the proposals.
By BILL BROTHERTON
LYNN — It appears the neon lights will be shining brightly in Central Square.
At a jam-packed, lively fundraising party Thursday night at Lynn Museum attended by an energetic, diverse crowd of more than 150 Lynners, Al Wilson, the “Beyond Walls” project’s founder and executive director, announced that $50,000 in donations had been reached.
“That means we will receive a matching $50,000 grant from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program,” said Wilson to loud cheers.
“This is an incredible outpouring of community support and investment in the future of downtown Lynn,” said Wilson. “While our campaign goal has been reached, we still need to raise more funding to support our stretch goal; and all donations over our goal will go directly to Beyond Walls.”
“Beyond Walls” raised more than $38,000 through the event, bringing the total funds raised to $56,000.
Partygoers enjoyed beer, including the special Beyond Walls Wheat, by Lynn-based Bent Water Brewing, and adult beverages from Short Path Distillery of Everett. Several area restaurants including The Blue Ox, Eastern Harvest Foods/Lynn Meatland, Old Tyme Italian Cuisine, Brother’s Deli and Tacos Lupita provided food. DJ extraordinaire Seth Albaum of upsidemedia provided music for dancing.
Beyond Walls bringing electricity downtown
The fundraising campaign ends on May 22. But not before another attempt to raise the next goal of $80,000, which will leave them at $130,000 raised through Commonwealth Places, said Wilson. If an additional $30,000 is donated, it will expand the project to include the lighting of the full Washington Street underpasses. The project also received licensing from the MBTA to light the underpasses on Market Street.
A Bentwater Blastoff at Bent Water Brewing Company will feature lively bands, food trucks, a beer tent and live installations of street art. Wilson is asking attendees to make a donation on the day of the event.
“If we can continue to bring in more funds, we can continue to light areas of the city that right now are shrouded in darkness,” Wilson said.
“Beyond Walls” will provide multi-colored LED lights under the railroad tracks, vibrant vintage neon art and murals that will cover sides of buildings.
To donate, go to www.Patronicity.com/Lynn.