When the snowflakes are flying and Cambridge’s iconic plow trucks take to the streets, one will stand out amongst the rest: the Helping Hands Plow, decorated with colorful handprints from kids around the city.
This paint-a-plow project, modelled after similar initiatives in other states, was developed through a collaboration between Public Works, the Cambridge Arts council, and local student-artists.
The idea came from Brian McLane, an engineer at the Department of Public Works, who had seen a similar program in his home state of Pennsylvania. With help from the Cambridge Arts program, the City was able to set up a fun event for kids to come paint a snow plow. There was great response to the event that took place on Halloween, with many kids and families excited to see how their creation would be used in the coming winter season.
The process was to prep the plow and then have it sandblasted and painted. Then the kids put on disposable gloves and dipped their hands in acrylic paint, pressing on the plow and leaving their mark on one of Cambridge’s impressive snowplows. It was a great way for people in the City to directly engage with the Department of Public Works and to be a part of something fun and exciting ahead of the snow season.
“The paint-a-plow project is a great way to bring the community and DPW together to create a mobile piece of public art and bring a smile to peoples’ faces during what can sometimes be a tough winter season,” said Cambridge Public Works Commissioner, Owen O’Riordan. “The Helping Hands theme reminds us all that, if we work together, we can get through the winter season safely.”
Residents are encouraged to safely snap a picture of the plow when they see it on the street this winter and use #HelpingHandsPlow to tag it on social media. Look out for the Helping Hands snowplow when the first snow hits Cambridge.