Central District Public Art Plan
Kistler/Higbee Cahoot June 2011
Central District Public Art Plan © 2011 by Nicole Kistler and Eric Higbee
Table of Contents
Page Chapter I: Project Background .................................................................................................................................................................1 Chapter II: Introduction ..........................................................................................................................................................................3 Plan Overview...................................................................................................................................................................................3 Guiding Principles ............................................................................................................................................................................4 Chapter III : Public Art in Context ..........................................................................................................................................................7 A Brief History of an Everchanging Neighborhood and its Public Art ................................................................................................7 Planning Efforts in the Central District .............................................................................................................................................11 Chapter IV: Recommendations ................................................................................................................................................................13 Building Community Through Art ....................................................................................................................................................14 Strengthening Neighborhood Identity ...............................................................................................................................................17 Activiting Underused Spaces and Energizing Business Cores ..............................................................................................................21 Building Partnerships and Programs: A Central District Public Arts Coalition ...................................................................................24 Chapter V: Implementation .....................................................................................................................................................................25 Who Will Move Things Forward and How ........................................................................................................................................25 Initial Projects ...................................................................................................................................................................................29 Chapter VI: Conclusion ...........................................................................................................................................................................35 Appendix A : Materials from Community Workshops ..............................................................................................................................37
C H A P T E R I : P RO J E C T B A C KG RO U N D
The Central District Public Art Plan began in January 2010 with a group of inspired neighbors who wanted to see more art in their neighborhood and who wanted to involve communities in creating it. To find funding and shepherd the project, a Steering Committee was formed that included representatives from the Central District Neighborhood Association, Cherry Hill Community Association, Squire Park Neighborhood Association, Jackson Place Neighborhood Association, and Colman Neighborhood Association. The Steering Committee met in open meetings on the fourth Monday of every month during the course of this project, and slowly grew to include more passionate Central District residents. In 2010 the Executive Committee, a core group of four steering committee members, applied for and received a $15,000 grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhood’s Matching Fund. This grant included funds to hire a consultant to lead a series of three community workshops and craft a neighborhood-wide art plan for the Central District. In February 2011 the Executive/Steering Committee hired as project consultants Nicole Kistler and Eric Higbee working as Kistler/Higbee Cahoot. As experienced artists and Second Community Workshop, April 28th, 2011. Photo by Eric Higbee
landscape professionals, their approach focused on community empowerment so that the plan could be flexible and have legs for implementation after its “completion.” The cornerstones of this approach include: foster a dialogue among neighbors, include art from the outset, and provide an organizational structure, outreach tools, and forum that the community can use after the plan is created to implement projects. Three community workshops were held on March 28th, April 28th, and May 21st, 2011. The first workshop was attended by over 50 people who broke into small groups to collect initial ideas and concerns for the plan. The consultants distilled the comments into five core ideas that were further explored at the second workshop. Several guiding principles for the plan came out of that workshop, as well as new and more developed ideas for public art. At the third workshop, participants voted from a list of all the public art ideas suggested during the process, and developed five main ideas to move forward with as initial projects. Following the community workshops, ticket sales and donations from the Central District Garden Tour raised approximately $7,000 to help fund these initial projects. The CD Public Art Plan is composed of, first, this document which is a written and graphic culmination of all the ideas from the three workshops combined with the research and professional recommendations drawn from experience; and second, a number of collaborative and online tools that are meant to be continually updated and expanded by community members. Executive Committee Mary Pat DiLeva Jean Tinnea Sandy Berlin Susan Min Steering Committee Members Sandra Boas-DuPree Bill Bradburd Kay Cohrs Shurvon Hayes Jodie Nelson Meg Olsen Sean Stearns Claudia Steele Stephanie Tschida
C H A P T E R I I : I N T RO D U C T I O N
The benefits of public art to a neighborhood are numerous. Public art can bring people together and build community. It can make us rethink our assumptions about ourselves and the world. Public art can restore and revitalize derelict spaces. It can be a catalyst for enriching our lives and our communities and initiate positive social change. Yet despite these benefits there are significant social, financial and regulatory barriers to the creation of art in our public spaces. In neighborhoods such as Seattle’s Central District, which is already struggling with issues of poverty, crime, and gentrification, public art is often overlooked in neighborhood improvement efforts. Often the public art that is built is without context and provides little meaning to those who view it or live nearby. An art plan can help a neighborhood determine how public art can best address a community’s needs. Through art planning, neighbors can find consensus on ideas, prioritize projects, and initiate the momentum to bring more art into public spaces. At a time when budgets are tight and art funding is being cut across the board, a plan can help find funding and create teams to bring these ideas to fruition. It is the first step in acting together to bring about the creative and meaningful social change that public art provides. Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor, Millenium Park, Chicago IL Photo credit: www.gallagher.com
This art plan strategizes how to bring the numerous benefits of public art to Seattle’s Central District, one of the city’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods. Based on a lengthy participatory process described in the previous section, it identifies the most appropriate themes, places and types of public art for the Central District. It builds upon past planning efforts to prioritize key projects and potential funding sources. The Central District Public Art Plan is intended for use by artists, interested community groups, neighborhood organizations and governmental agencies. Throughout our process one main concept stood out from the rest: the desire to create enduring relationships with neighbors through the creation of public art. We heard a clear desire expressed for public art that brings us together by helping express common experience and providing conversational sparks that ignite friendships. We heard that “building community,” although not a panacea, went the longest distance in addressing the neighborhood’s issues and challenges. Throughout this plan we hold this communitybuilding ideal as a central tenant.
In support of building community through public art, four main principles guide the development of this plan. These principles were distilled from our three community planning events and reflect the diverse experience that community members brought to the discussion.
1. A plAn thAt is rooted in the CentrAl distriCt.
The Central District is one of Seattle’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods. The Central District Public Art Plan should seek ways to celebrate, honor, remember and identify the unique cultural and historical richness of the neighborhood.
2. A plAn thAt builds upon And supports Current efforts And Artists in the CentrAl distriCt
Many people, organizations and artists are already working to improve the Central District and promote public art in its neighborhoods. The Central District Public Art Plan should augment, support, and partner with these existing efforts and artists wherever possible. The plan should foster and maintain arts development programs for youth and burgeoning artists while creating opportunities for existing professional artists.
3. A plAn thAt is flexible, implementAble And inClusive.
The Central District Art Plan should be an open and living document, available for anyone to contribute new ideas or adapt over time. The plan should be implementable by those who are not professional artists and provide achievable, affordable project options that can be built on a larger scale over time.
4. A plAn thAt seeks the highest thAt Art CAn offer
Public art can bring people together and build community, make us rethink our assumptions about ourselves and the world, and restore and revitalize derelict spaces. The Central District Public Art Plan should seek to create nothing less than the highest quality and most meaningful art for the neighborhood.
CHAPTER III: PUBLIC ART IN CONTEXT
A brief history of an ever-changing neighborhood and its public art
Over the years the Central District has been a community center for many of Seattle’s cultural groups and new immigrant communities, including Danish, Japanese, Jewish, and Italian communities, among others. Beginning in the 1920’s the Central District had been most strongly identified with the center for Seattle’s African-American community. Some of the historical events that have shaped the neighborhood include: waves of working class immigrants from Italy and Ireland in the 1940s, internment and displacement of Japanese Americans during World War II, the flourishing of a Jazz music scene in the 30’s and 40’s, the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, and the Federal Urban Renewal Programs of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Historically the Central District has had a vibrant arts scene, particularly in music and the performing arts. During the height of the Jazz era in the 1940’s and 50’s, musicians Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker all played on Jackson Street. In the 1960’s several funk bands started in the area including Wheedle’s Groove. Famous musicians have grown up in the Central District such as Jazz artist, Quincy Jones; guitarist, Jimi Hendrix; Mural at Seattle Central Community College Wood Construction Center, 23rd Ave., Seattle WA Photo credit: Eric Higbee
contemporary Hip Hop bands such as the Blue Scholars, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and Macklemore; and the much noted Total Experience Gospel Choir. Today, the face of the neighborhood continues to change as new groups make the Central District their home. In talking with people in the neighborhood, they felt that current trends are pushing the Central District’s working class and African American communities further south to communities such as Kent and Renton. While census data appears to support that perception, it also shows that on the whole the Central District is becoming less segregated and that people from all races are choosing to live side-by-side. Data from the 2010 Federal Census shows that there was a 34% increase in population in the neighborhood from 2000 to 2010, with the race of most of those identified primarily as white. Data shows that although the total “minority population” decreased as much as 17% in some areas of the Central District, the total decrease is due, in large part, to the large influx of new residents. Currently a multitude of arts organizations, artists, performance venues, galleries, and schools operate in the Central District, making it a jewel of cultural diversity in Seattle. Photo credit: James and Janie Washington Found.
James Washington, Sculptor
Public art can be found throughout the neighborhood as evidenced by our inventory which can be found online. Existing community groups and organizations are facilitating the creation of new public art. At Coyote Central, for example, artists are working with youth to create new art and public art in the neighborhood.
Seattle Artist, James Washington is best-known for his prolific work in sculpture. Born in rural Mississippi, he taught himself painting and drawing, then studied under a number of artists both formally and informally. In 1944, a wartime job brought Washington to Seattle, and he moved to the Central Area. After a sketch trip to Mexico in 1951 where he met the muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siquerios, and visited the monumental pyramids at Teotihuacan he began experimenting in stone. His emergence in sculpture marked the turning point in his career, and soon after he began selling work to major institutions on an
De Barros, Paul. Jackson Street After Hours (Sasquatch Books, 1993) Taylor, Quintard. Forging of a Black Community (University of Washington Press, 1994)
James Washington continued...
History Link Essay http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=3079 Seattle’s African American Heritage Guide http://www.visitseattle.org/Visitors/Discover/Heritage/African-American-Heritage.aspx
For more information on the 2010 Federal Census visit:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/census2010/ http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2011/03/06/census-data-reveals-a-changing-central-district http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014421589_censusimmaculate07m.html)
Central District Public Art Iventory
The authors, steering committee and community members have all contributed to creating an online public art inventory, using Google Maps, that will be continually added to as more art is created in the Central District.
international scale, exhibiting work throughout Washington and California, but also in England and Japan. During this same period of time, he became involved in the Civil Rights Movement and met Dr. Martin Luthur King, Jr. By 1966, it’s estimated that over 600 of his works were sold to museums and private collections including the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art, and the M.H. De Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. He served on the Washington State Arts Commission and was elected to the Washington State Historical Society Hall of Honor. Five of his sculptures can be found in the Central Area including: The Obelisk at Meany Middle School, Oracle of Truth at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Foundation of Triumph at 23rd and Union, My Testimony in Stone at the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic and work at his home. A lifelong supporter of the development of artists, he and his wife left their home and his studio for use of the artist-in-residence program that is supported by the James and Janie Washington Foundation. For a timeline of Washington’s life visit http://www. jameswashington.org/history.html
Screen Shapshot, Central District Online Public Art Inventory.
Planning efforts in the CD – Neighborhood Plans
Multiple planning efforts have taken place in the Central Area over the past several years. Chief among them, The Central Area Neighborhood Plan, a City of Seattle sponsored effort, was completed in 1998 after three years of work and the volunteer efforts and participation of over 2,000 residents. Preceded by the 1992 Central Area Action Plan that sought to “recover a neglected neighborhood,” the 1998 plan focused on being more proactive in “providing solutions for existing residents so they are not left behind” by the rise of real estate prices. The sections of the Central Area Neighborhood Plan that make reference to public art contain four key recommendations. First, establish an arterial “backbone” on 23rd Avenue from Madison to Jackson with temporary green space and public art improvements in vacant spaces, permanent siting of public art, and “establishment of a Central Area Heritage Trail with interpretive kiosks, artworks and community bulletin boards.” Second, to demarcate and preserve historical structures related to African American history, specifically the Black and Tan Club, Deane’s Grocery, the AME Church and the Hearing, Deaf and Speech Center. Third, to create an identity and pride in the neighborhood with a series of gateways to the area, and finally to create a “Central Area’s African and African American Cultural Arts Commission” to oversee the creation of artwork. The organization functioned briefly to create two works, and then ran into roadblocks and disbanded. The Madison-Miller Neighborhood Master Plan points out that the way that Madison cuts across the regular street grid leaves parcels of land that are not able to be developed as conventional buildings and therefore might be good places to site pocket parks and public art. The plan refers to the creation of the Central Area Heritage Trail that might link several historical landmarks including the current site of Planned Parenthood which used to be the location of the Savoy Club, the home of James Washington, the First AME Church, and the Shipscalers Building to name a few. The plan also calls for two gateways that we discuss under Recommendations.
The Central Gateway Workshop Report is a summary of a one-day workshop led by the City of Seattle to address the crossroads of the Central Area, Chinatown/International District, and First Hill and where the major arterials of Boren, Jackson, Rainier, and 12th Avenue all converge within a two block radius. Recommendations related to public art mainly focus on creating symbols and signage at the gateway to give visual cues that reinforce a sense of place, as well as a heritage walk along Jackson. Participants also felt that creating a ceremonial space for community celebrations and activities could be an important element at the gateway as well environmental enhancements like a living wall. They also brainstormed numerous ideas for improvements to the Lloyd’s Rocket site. The Central Area Neighborhood Plan refers to several other studies that we were not able to locate in the course of this planning process, including: 1992 CAAP Recommendations, the 12th Avenue Development Plan, the Jackson Streetscape Improvement Study, the Union Street Urban Design Plan, and the Central Park Trail Master Plan.
Central Area Neighborhood Plan http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/npi/plans/central/ Madison-Miller Neighborhood Master Plan (listed on the right-hand column)) http://millerparkseattle.blogspot.com/ Central Gateway Workshop Report http://www.seattle.gov/planningcommission/docs/Wkshprpt.pdf
C H A P T E R I V: R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S
Through the three public workshops and numerous steering committee meetings we have distilled four main recommendations for developing public art within the Central District: building community through public art, strengthening neighborhood identity, strengthening business cores and activating underused spaces, and developing a CD Public Art Coalition. In the following section we highlight the spirit of each recommendation with project examples, although these examples overlap in several categories. We also identify a typology of five different places for art: at the neighborhood scale, in parks, along corridors and business hubs and in underused spaces. While multiple concepts may apply to each place typology, we have put them into the sections where they may best inform the associated recommendation.
1. BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH PUBLIC ART Description
This project arose out of the desire to bring neighbors together and this theme continued to be at the center of our conversation during this planning process. At the heart of all our recommendations we ask the question, “How can public art help build enduring relationships within our communities?” It is important to note that there is no one Central District “community.” The Central District is composed of a multitude of overlapping communities, some organized by cultural affiliation, others by spatial proximity, and others through some shared interest. Community, as referenced in this plan, implies all of these types. There is significant overlap between the idea of building community and the subject of our next recommendationa, strengthening neighborhood identity and activating undersused spaces. For instance one of the byproducts of community-based placemaking is a greater sense of “place” and shared identity. Conversely, art that successfully strengthens a neighborhood’s identity,or activates a vacant lot helps generate a sense of belonging to a community. Because of this overlap, several projects and spatial types described in the next sections are also applicable here.
Project Types and Precedents
There are many approaches to building community through public art, but the primary focus of this recommendation is for small grassroots neighborhood improvement projects initiated by motivated neighbors. These types of projects, if implemented with an inclusive and open process, can be amazingly successfully at bringing people together and creating a shared sense of community. There are an infinite amount of possibilities for these types of projects. Some examples are The Wallybug Intersection Painting, Seattle WA. Photo credit: Eric Higbee building a neighborhood kiosk, painting the street, or improving a planting strip to create a mini-gathering space.
Events and celebrations are a core part of building community and can dovetail nicely with public art efforts. Art-based events can also be incorporated in existing neighborhood gatherings. Neighborhood-based movie nights, music or story festivals, performances-inthe-park, temporary art, or an open market art show are all examples of art events that could be incorporated into an annual picnic or block party. Community-built art projects have a strong precedent in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s history of progressive activism has generated a long list of community initiated and built neighborhood places. For example, many of the P-Patches (community gardens) and traffic circles in the Central District have been built through community efforts and often with City support. In Portland, the City Repair organization has been innovating a host of communitybased placemaking strategies. One of these, called Intersection Repair, has already taken a foothold in Seattle with an SDOT supported program for painting large murals on street intersections as a community building strategy. Other ideas built by City Repair include neighborhood book exchanges, tea stations, cob ovens, and more. City Repair provides many great resources and project ideas for community building projects. More information can be found at www.cityrepair.org . Share-it Square Kiosk, Portland OR. Photo credit: www.cityrepair.org
While the concept of building community through public art may apply across all types of places, including parks, business hubs, and underused spaces, the project ideas described above are most obviously appropriate for the Central District’s residential neighborhood spaces. Central District Block Party, Seattle WA. Photo credit: Eric Higbee
RELEVENT PROJECT IDEAS FROM CD ART PLAN COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS:
• Kiosk Project: Create fun/artistic kiosks for people to post notices and share information. • Intersection/street painting: Paint a large mural on a neigbhorhood street intersection - approved program by Seattle Deparment of Transportation (only three in the city so far). • Neighborhood Gathering Place • Utility Box Painting: Turn all those ugly utility boxes on street corners into something beautiful. • Garage painting : Create a series of murals on neighborhood garages. A garagallery. • Street Furniture : identify locations and design fun creative benches, chairs, etc. for streets and sidewalks. • The Picnic Project: People are invited to bring their own picnic and musical instrument for a communitywide picnic. This project can expand over time to also include a movie night, theater, dance or music in the park, temporary art in the park, and an open market art show.
The Central Area is actually made up of many smaller neighborhoods including: Squire Park, Madison-Miller, Spruce Park, Colman, Jackson Place, Madrona, and Leschi. Neighbors in the Central District tend to identify more closely with their smaller neighborhood, and therefore, neighbor led art projects might focus on the hearts of each of these neighborhoods. While there is mix of densities and housing types in these neighborhoods, the majority of the Central District is composed of single family homes with tree lined sidewalks and planting strips. The art projects mentioned in this section, such as intersection painting and kiosks (as well as project ideas in the next section), are most appropriate for these residential spaces. These projects can be done in just one particular neighborhood, or neighborhoods can join forces to help each other propagate a project idea through multiple neighborhoods. While any improvements in the Right-of-Way require Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) approval, permission is often easy to obtain with a free over-the-counter permit. In addition, SDOT’s art liaison is an exceptionally good resource for guidance on implementing community-based art projects.
2. STRENGTHENING NEIGHBORHOOD IDENTITY Description
Strengthening neighborhood identity through public art is an outward expression of both who we are as a neighborhood and our love and care of it. It’s a way to highlight our heritage, challenge stereotypes, and build community around the shared experience of living in the same place. During our planning discussions community members debated whether public art should highlight the events, places and people in the past, or focus on the people living in the Central District today. The idea that art can capture the stories of people and places in a neighborhood through a variety of different media is central to each of these viewpoints and both aspects are worthy of exploration. We ask ourselves: Who are the people living and working in the Central District today and how do they challenge our stereotypes? How does our storytelling about local people, who we choose and how we tell it, also give us insight into the storytelller? How does our past inform where we live today? Stories that repeatedly came up during our discussions included the music history of the neighborhood, the working class people that have made the Central District their home, the stories of individual immigrants and immigrant groups, and the Civil Rights Movement. Place-based stories are equally compelling, for example the history of some of our touchstones like Washington Hall, the Black and Tan Club, Deane’s Grocery, Lloyd’s Rocket and Ezell’s Chicken. It is even interesting that some street names have changed over the years from names of trees to numbers.
Project Types and Precedents
Types of neighborhood identity-strengthening public art range from music festivals, temporary projects and performance art (described in the next section on activating space) Internaional District, Seattle WA. Photo credit: Unknown.
to permanent and long-term projects like a walking tour, youth program, documentary or mural project. Here, we focus on two project types that we feel best demonstrate this concept: documentaries and mural and banner programs.
Film, audio recordings, and photography are all rich media to explore documentary subjects. By telling these stories in the public realm, such as displaying them in a temporary installation, posting them online, or broadcast over the radio, they become public art for everyone to share and discuss. The Corner, Seattle www.23rdandunion.org WA. Photo credit: For example, the recent multimedia project, The Corner: 23rd and Union, filled a distinct need for community dialogue and allowed people a forum where they felt safe to speak their true feelings about life in the neighborhood. The project has inspired numerous other projects including, to some extent, the Jackson Street Music History Project. Intended as a temporary project, the photo installation at 23rd and Union has moved to the NW African American Museum, and people can still visit “The Corner” on the Internet. Find more information on the web at: http://kuow.org/23rdandunion/ The development of a CD History Walking Tour was one of the projects prioritized at our last community workshop. A series of identifiable markers would label historical places throughout the neighborhood. These markers might also be accompanied by public art at the site. An audio tour, accessed by cell phone or Internet download would reference each marker and give historical background for the location as told by local residents. Hello Neighbor Project, Portland OR. Photo credit: Julie Keefe.
Murals and Banners
The Central District already has an extensive collection of painted murals, many of which attempt to convey the history and character of the neighborhood. Murals are an easily implementable and high profile type of public art accessible to most people. During our third community workshop, the idea of a mural program emerged that would identify
property owners who wanted to have a mural on their building and team them with artists who want to create a mural, an idea we fully support. In Portland, artist Julie Keefe worked with children to seek out neighbors of all ages on the Hello Neighbor project. Hello Neighbor creates community dialogue through the act of photographing subjects, as well as in the display of mural-sized photographs and text that “introduce” neighbors to each other. More information can be found at http:// helloneighborproject.org. Some community members suggested that we do a similar project in the Central District and display the photographs on banners at major gateways to the neighborhood.
RELEVENT PROJECT IDEAS FROM CD ART PLAN COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS:
• The Mirror Project/Living Central District Project: Commission an artist to create artwork that captures the people and places of the CD today. • Murals Project: Create a program to commission more murals around the Central District that reflect the people and culture of the CD. • Zoeatrope: Create a movie/story that is projected on buildings by riding a bicycle to make it go, could tell stories of the neighborhood. • CD Banner Project/Student Photo Project: Portraits of local people posted on banners throughout the CD, could be paired with recorded voices or stories that have to do with the history of the place or people. • Interactive sidewalks: mazes that leads to historical plaques or other items of interest. • History of Central District Street Names Project • The Touchstones Project: Identify and honor the sacred and familiar places that we want to maintain amongst all the neighborhood demographic change. • The Central District Immigrant Project: Tell the stories of the new people moving into the neighborhood. • The Working Class Project: Commission an artist to create artwork the celebrates the working class history of the neighborhood. • Gateways : Identify and create public art marking the vehicular and pedestrian gateways into the Central Dsitrict.
We focus on two key place types to build on the theme of strengthening neighborhood identity: corridors and gateways. Certainly, all the other place types, neighborhood scale (mentioned previously), business hubs and underused spaces (both mentioned next) could also benefit from the application of this theme.
The spine of 23rd Avenue runs through the entire Central Area and links the primary business hubs together. Art along this corridor should help to reinforce the connectivity of the entire district. Artworks that create a rhythm along the street, like a series of banners, sidewalk treatments, a walking tour with inset medallions, or storefront lighting will help unify. Other major streets like Madison, Union, Cherry and Jackson are focused on in the next section under the business hub place typology.
During our workshops, and in all the other planning efforts in the area, siting art to mark neighborhood gateways is seen as an important function of public art. Multiple precedents abound. The banner project mentioned previously is one excellent way to mark a gateway.
Although the exact boundary of the Central District is fluid and disputable, we acquiesce to the locations determined by the Central District Neighborhood Plan. • • • • • • Confluence of Central Area, Chinatown/International District, and First Hill at Rainier, Jackson, Boren and 12th 12th and Cherry and 12th and Yesler/Jackson 5-Point Confluence at Olive, Madison and 20th The Confluence of Captiol Hill and the Central Area at Madison, Union and 12th 23rd and Madison, 23rd and Union, 23rd and Jackson, and 23rd and I-90 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Union, Cherry and Jackson in coordination with a planned median project
3. ACTIVATING UNDERUSED SPACES AND ENERGIZING BUSINESS CORES Description
Numerous vacant storefronts, abandoned lots, and derelict spaces reside in the Central District, attracting crime and vandalism and creating sore spots for a neighborhood struggling with poverty and crime. Public art can be most successful when it casts its light into such unused and vacant spaces, bringing energy and attention and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood improvements. While business cores and underused spaces are different types of places, they address similar issues and many of the methods used to activate these spaces are similar. Many of the previously discussed recommendations and project ideas are also applicable to this section.
Project Types and Precedents
Permanent built work like the “Fremont Troll” and “Waiting for the Interurban” in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood were created to activate an underused space under a bridge and a business hub. Innovative and artful street furniture like benches, trash cans, and bus stops can also activate business areas by helping people feel more comfortable being there for longer periods of time. Simple, colored lighting can enliven storefronts, underpasses and other unpleasant areas. Murals, mentioned in the section above, are also an easily implementable way to bring color and art into a space. Temporary projects, events, and performances can really shine in activating spaces and bringing people to the neighborhood. Mobile planters or kiosks can temporarily activate a vacant lot or inactive street, and can easily be relocated or even move their way down the street. A mobile art studio created in taco truck style could provide a forum for dialogue with artists right on the street. Opportunities for street artists, night festivals and art walks would all enhance the experience at local business hubs. Mission District Mutals, San Francisco, CA Photo credit: Eric Higbee Storefront Seattle, Seattle WA. Photo credit: Storefront Seattle
In 2010, Seattle launched Storefronts Seattle, a program giving artists access to vacant storefronts in the Downtown Neighborhood where they can exhibit their art or create a temporary studio space. The project has grown this year and the number of artists and spaces has increased. They are interested in expanding to the Central District. For more information visit storefrontsseattle.wordpress.com.
Along 23rd are major business hubs at Madison, Union, Cherry, and Jackson. Because 23rd is such a busy street, most pedestrian activity takes place along the cross-arterials at Madison, Union, Cherry and Jackson. Artwork along those arterials should help to Art Bench. Photo credit: Unkown reinforce the identity of each neighborhood and build community between business owners and neighbors. Neighbors suggested creating “A Bite of Cherry” for instance, along each street that focused on the cuisine found along that street. There are two existing projects focused on music and nightlife history along Jackson Street. 23rd and Union has long been considered the crossroads of the Central District, and the area just up the street at both 21st and 22nd and Union is bustling with activity. However, with a vacant lot at one corner and car-oriented development at two other corners, the hub is currently suffering from a lack of identity and pedestrian-oriented activation. Following the success of The Corner: 23rd and Union project, using that space as an ongoing gallery for public art installations will help bring energy into the intersection. In addition, street painting or other art that helps lead people to the activity just up the block would highlight the vibrancy not evident right at the corner of 23rd and Union. 12th Avenue bustles with activity primarily because of the presence of Seattle University on one side of the street. Neighbors should find ways to create annual rituals to build community, like painting an intersection each year, to help engage the transitory student population.
RELEVENT PROJECT IDEAS FROM CD ART PLAN COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS:
• Kiosk Project: Create fun/artistic kiosks for people to post notices and share information. • Intersection/street painting: Paint a large mural on a neigbhorhood street intersection - approved program by Seattle Deparment of Transportation (only three in the city so far). • Utility Box Painting: Turn all those ugly utility boxes on street corners into something beautiful. • Murals Project: Create a program to commission more murals around the Central District that reflect the people and culture of the CD. • Aerosol Art Gallery: Locate a large wall to serve as a gallery for aeresol art. • Rain Gardens and Green Walls: Bring more greenery and sustainable design into the neighborhood in creative ways.
Vacant and Underused Spaces
During our planning process we identified several typologies and numerous locations for vacant and underused spaces including: storefronts, vacant lots, under-activated parks, and other specific places that would benefit from art. Ownership of these spaces varies and each site will have unique challenges in implementing public art. Places that were particularly mentioned during our discussions included: the north end of the Juvenile Detention Center, the Grocery Outlet parking lot, the parks mentioned specifically below and several empty lots and parking lots, some owned by the City. These spaces could benefit from a combination of built projects such lighting and fence treatment, environmental art, and programmed arts festivals and performances. Many vacant lots are fenced, primarily for liability, but the fence can be a terrific canvas to engage the public through art. Dutch designers Demakersvan, for example, created a lace fence that integrates a lace pattern right into the metal of the fence. Banners with printed photographs are also another popular way to enliven a fence.
RELEVENT PROJECT IDEAS CONTINUED:
• Street Furniture : identify locations and design fun creative benches, chairs, etc. for streets and sidewalks. • Outdoor stage: Create and program it. • Lit poetry project under I-90: Poems created through a youth program, positive messages would rotate under I-90 and Rainier Ave.. Could be a WSDOT/Sound Transit funded project with Coyote Central, Umoja Peace Center or other group helping to produce the poetry. • Storefronts Seattle: Artists have access to vacant storefronts to exhibit their art. • Temporary art in unused spaces: Identify the derelict places most in need and commision/create art to bring it life. • Interactive, moveable kiosks or mobile carts (or even festivals in a given period of time): travel to self-identified neighborhoods or districts within the Central District. Can be built upon in some way as it travels. • Mobile Planters: Movable greenery as art. • Opportunities for Street Performance Artists: Create a program to bring outdoor performance art to the CD. • Poetry box: Create a space for people to post their poetry in a public setting. • Night festivals: Bite of Cherry, Jackson, Madison, etc.
While exceptional artworks could defy the general rule, community members did not care to see more permanent artwork sited within public parks, preferring instead to make use of other underused spaces (see above). People tended to prefer temporary artwork, events, and performing arts that better served to activate parks and create dialogue among neighbors. Dr. Blanch Lavizzo and Judkins Parks and the Pratt Park Amphitheater were places specifically mentioned as needing more activation. Arts programming will be the best way to activate these places.
RELEVENT PROJECT IDEAS FROM CD ART PLAN COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS:
• CD Public Artist’s Internet Forum: List of festivals and events, resources, projects, story projects, photos. Tool share. Studio space availability. List of shop owners willing to hang art for artwalk, etc. • CD Public Art Inventory: Map of existing and planned public art (already started). • Art Summit: Annual forum for all arts organizations to meet and talk about how to better support each other. • 23rd and Union as Rotating Artspace: Establish a committee to keep bringing innovative artwork to this critical intersection. • Art Incubator: Afterschool art program, mentorship program for youth, places to show art, etc. • Public Artist-in-Residence Program: Create a program to bring a full-time public artist to the Central District. • Mobile Art Residency/Studio/Art Truck: A space where artists can work and involve people in the arts as they move around the neighborhood. • Central District Public Art Walking Tours: Tell the stories of the CD through Art Walks and Open Studios.
4. BUILDING PROGRAMS AND PARTNERSHIPS: A CENTRAL DISTRICT PUBLIC ART COALITION Description
While there are numerous organizations in the Central District offering a variety of arts programs, no organization is focused primarily on bringing public art to the neighborhood. One of the key recommendations of this plan, therefore, is the creation of a Central District Public Arts Coalition to shepherd the creation and maintenance of public art in the Central District. The major activities of the Coalition would be to promote public art projects and public artists, secure funding, provide organizational and capital resources, and coordinate existing arts organizations and ongoing projects. This plan sees the Central District Public Art Coalition (the Coalition) as a key player in moving the goals of this plan forward. The composition of this coalition should include representatives from neighborhood groups, arts organizations, artists, and local residents with an interest in public art. The organization should be a volunteer-led coalition and the leadership should be representative of the racial and cultural diversity of the Central District. Executive leadership should be elected by the group. By no-means should this organization be a “gate-keeper” for new public art projects in the Central District. Rather, the Coalition exists to advocate and assist others in creation of public art. Funding and neighborhood politics are historically the two primary hurdles artists and arts organizations faced in creating public art and we believe that a representative and inclusive Coalition can help to overcome those difficulties. The Coalition is also not meant to become its own non-profit. This volunteer-led group should keep the largest portion of funding available for funding materials and artist time, and any staff time needed for administration of programs should ideally be in partnership with existing local arts organizations to keep overhead low and further support those existing organizations.
Applicable Art Ideas and Precedents
We envision many potential programs for the Coalition, including an Internet forum for sharing resources and promoting projects, an arts summit to bring local organizations together, and art incubator program to mentor youth and emerging artists. Of these ideas, we believe the strongest first step for the Coalition is to establish a Central District Artist-In-Residence program. An artist-in-residence program would provide a framework for the continual creation of unique Central District based public art. With potential partners such as the James Washington House and Pratt Fine Art Center, the resources and funding for a residency are feasible and achievable. South Park Arts and the Fremont Arts Council (FAC) are Seattle arts organizations within neighborhoods that have undergone significant demographic changes in the past decade. These organizations provide good models and lessons applicable to the Coalition’s mission, including The Fremont Arts Council mission that “art helps build stronger communities and creates a sense of place.” FAC organizes several annual events including the well known Fremont Summer Solstice Parade, and Trolloween. They also care for the Fremont Troll, a large sculpture under the the bridge of SR 99. Find out more about them at http://fremontartscouncil.org/. South Park Arts is “an organization dedicated to supporting, representing, and promoting art and artists in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood.” Frustrated by trying to gain financial support for projects in the local political climate, the organization stalled out several years ago. Support for “The Living Barge Project” a temporary environmental art project created by Sarah Kavage and Nicole Kistler (one of the authors of this document) subsequently reinvigorated the group, which now boasts a long list of built projects (including South Park Lights and a variety of mural projects), as well as many annual events including a winter art sale and South Park Putts Out, a artful goofy-golf event. For more information visit http://www.southparkarts.org.
Central District Arts Organizations • 206Zulu • Arts Corps (Dora Oliveira) • Arts In Motion • Arts Leadership Lab Seattle • Bread Factory • Central Area Motivation Program • Central Area Youth Association • Cafe of the Masses • Capoeira Group • Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas • Central Cinema • Chilladelphia • Cortona Cafe • Coyote Central • East Union (gallery next to Cortona Cafe)) • FourPeaks (Scott Macklin) • Gallery 1412 • Hollow Earth Radio • Hiawatha Artist Lofts • Hidmo (Washington Hall) • Ignition Northwest (Members live in CD) • James Washington House • Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center • Northwest African American Museum • Photography Center Northwest • Pratt School For Fine Arts • Reel Girrls • Seattle Young People’s Project • Umoja P.E.A.C.E. Center • Voices Rising • Washington Hall • Watch Us Grow (need more info about this org) • Ijo Arts (Inke Wokoma, photographer for The Corner project) • Wood Construction Center (SCCC)
Central District Neighborhood Organizations • 12th Ave. Neighborhood Planning • 14th & Main Neighborhood Association • 28th & 29th Street Block Watch • 30th Street Block Watch • Business Owners of Madrona (BOOM) • Central Area District Council • Central District Neighborhood Association • Cherry Hill Community Council • Colman Neighborhood Association • Garfield Community Council • Greater Madison Valley Community Council • Jackson Place Community Council • Judkins Park Community Council • Leschi Community Council • Madrona Community Council • Madrona Moms • Miller Park Neighborhood Association • Neighborhood Service Center • Squire Park Community Council Community Organizations • African Americans Veterans Group • Alleycat Acres • Atlantic Street Center • Black Dollar Days Task Force • C4C - Creatives 4 Community • Casa Latina • Catholic Community Services • CD Senior Center • Central Area Community Festival Association • Central Park Trail • Clean Greens • East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition • Eritrean Community Center • Eritrean Community Center and Church • Ethopian Community Center • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Filipino American National Garden Central Garfield Community Center Great City Initiative/Seattle Great City Home Grown Organics King County Juvenile Detention Center National Association for Black Veterans Nikkei Concerns Nikkei Manor Assisted Living Oromo Community Center Pacific NW Black Community Festival Passages NW Rainier Valley Garden Tour Rotary Boys and Girls Club Seattle University WA Educators for Social Justice Seattle Young People’s Project Seattle Public Library Sustainable Central District Swedish Hospital Treehouse Urban League Yesler Community Center • • • • • • • • Seattle Girls School Seattle Japanese Language School Seattle University The Valley School (Madison Valley) Seattle Vocational Inst. Thurgood Marshall Vocational Technical School Washington Middle School
Central District Schools • Bailey Gatzert • Community Day Center for Children • First Place School • Garfield High School • Giddons School • Hamlin Robinson School • Islamic School of Seattle • Lake Washington Girls Middle School • Les Enfants De Seattle • Leschi Elementary School • Madrona Elementary School • Pratt Fine Arts School • Seattle Academy
Churches • Antioch Baptist Church • Church of Holy Martyrs of Vietnam • Curry Temple CME Church • Ethiopian Church - St. Gebriel • First AME Church • Goodwill Baptist Church • Grace United Methodist Church • Greater Seattle Subud • Immaculate Conception Church • Japanese Congregational Church • Konko Church of Seattle • Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd • Madison Park Church of Christ • Mount Calvary Church • Mount Zion Baptist Church • Real Life Ministries • Seattle Buddhist Church • Seattle Koyasan Church • Shambhala Center • Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church • St. John’s Lutheran Church • St. Therese Catholic Church • Tabernacle Missionary Baptist • Temple De Hirsch Sinai • Trinity Faith Temple • Vietnamese Buddhist Association
C H A P T E R V. I M P L E M E N TAT I O N
W H O W I L L M OV E T H I N G S F O RWA R D A N D H OW
Besides the work of the Coalition (see section above), there are numerous other avenues for creating public art in the Central District. Below is an overview of potential implementers of public art and potential funding resources available for each.
1. Arts orgAnizAtions And Community groups
Arts organizations and community groups, including the Central District Public Art Coalition, can take on a variety of projects and programs as they fit the mission of their organization. Such groups can provide existing organizational structures or funding sources and may be able to tackle more complex arts projects like a mural program, an artist-in-residence program, or a temporary art in vacant spaces program. There are many additional funding sources available for groups interested in creating public art: grassroots level fundraising like membership donations, class fees, and donations at events; municipal grants through the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs,
PARTIAL LIST OF POTENTIAL FUNDING SOURCES:
the Department of Neighborhoods, and 4Culture; and grants through foundations and other non-profits.
There are numerous funding sources available to arts organizations and individuals. Listed here are some major local funding sources as well as resources to point you in the right direction. Artist Trust Artist Trust provides GAP grants annually to individual artists. They also maintain a website that lists other arts opportunities. http://www.artisttrust.org/ City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs Provides funding for individual artists, arts organizations and arts education through a number of granting programs. http://www.seattle.gov/arts/ Department of Neighborhoods Provides funding for groups of neighbors based on community members ability to “match” funding with volunteer hours or fundraising. http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/ Other City Departments It’s possible to implement projects in cooperation with other City departments as they are working in the neighborhood. The best way to do this is by establishing a positive rapport with City officials.
2. individuAl Community members And businesses
Community members and business owners, with or without the support of the Coalition, can take on pieces of the plan as they benefit their own interests. In particular, we envision community members “starting in their own backyard” and taking on a specific project or space that directly affects them. For example two neighbors may start talking about how to create neighborhood identity for their block while slowing traffic and decide to paint the intersection. Or a group of restaurant owners may decide to have a “Taste of ” event to promote their cuisine. These folks might easily self-fund these projects through low material costs and volunteer effort. Should they need additional funding, grassroots fundraising will be easiest, however, partnering with a sponsoring organization like an existing community group or arts organization can amply expand their opportunities.
Individual working artists may have an idea already in mind, or might be excited to work on a project in their community. Individual artists may envision a project that does not fit a standard set of criteria, or benefit a particular group since they are often building upon their own body of work by developing a particular media or subject matter. Artists offer an opportunity to have a completely new take on a public space from what we or anyone in the community may imagine, and we believe it is important to harness this creative genius. There are grants available for individual artists through Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and 4Culture, as well as numerous private funding organizations. Should an individual artist pursue work in the public realm through independent means, partnership with existing arts organizations can expand the artist’s vision and can make working in the neighborhood a pleasure.
4. muniCipAl AgenCy projeCts
Public art can be incorporated into the repair and construction of municipal projects. For instance, if a sidewalk is being repaired by SDOT, there is an opportunity to include public art in the new sidewalk without much additional cost. Similarly, artists are hired through “1% for Art” on new construction projects. The Coalition should make itself known to City and County administrators and actively seek a seat at the table for selection panels and other advisory roles. As much as these projects can be planned well in advance of construction, incorporation will be simpler and less costly.
PARTIAL LIST OF POTENTIAL FUNDING SOURCE CONT.
4Culture 4Culture administers 1% for art projects for King County, and also provides opportunities for funding for Arts and Culture through two main grants annually, groups and individuals. They also post opportunities for artists regularly on their website. http://www.4culture.org/ Shunpike Shunpike will act as a fiscal sponsor, and also provides assistance in arts management, an excellent resource for individual artists and arts groups alike. http://www.shunpike.org/
At our third public event, we posted a list of all the built projects, places, events and performances, and temporary projects to prioritize what initial projects we might move forward. We were working from the premise that the momentum built during the planning process can be capitalized on through early action and small victories. Workshop participants came up with an ambitious set of 5 projects: an artist-in-residence program, kiosk and mural programs, a history of the Central District walking tour, and a series of summer picnics. These projects will be further developed by committees within the Central District Public Art Coalition, and besides the brief description we give for each below, the committee will further develop a strategic plan for project steps, timeline, fundraising and outreach which can be found in an appendix.
1. Artist-in-residenCe progrAm
The Artist-In-Residence program will support the work of either one or more artists to create public projects within the neighborhood each year. As envisioned by community members thus far, the program could be managed by the CD Public Art Coalition or a neighborhood board that secured funding for a residency of a given length of time. In addition, they could act as an oversight review committee to ensure the project(s)
were delivered as scoped by an RFQ and contract. If funding permitted, more than one professional artist could be engaged to work on multiple projects. At our third community workshop, participants felt that focusing on the Artist-In-Residence Program might be one way to move other projects forward, and we agree. We feel that this program will be particularly strong if community members select artists based on the merit of their work whether they be emerging or experienced artists, and we encourage community members to cast a wide net in seeking artists. Central Area artists might have the opportunity for preferential treatment in support of the efforts to develop artist potential in the neighborhood, but artists from outside the neighborhood should also be considered for the residency program to ensure a consistently high caliber of work and challenge local emerging artists to meet that high standard. The Coalition or community group managing the artist, should allow the artist a range of project types and locations to choose from and should refer the artist to this document. The Coalition should then engage the artist through a series of conversations in the form of idea proposals, so that the artist may gradually refine their work and have the benefit of a dialogue with the community before their work is installed. The Coalition should also work as a liaison with City officials to offer those officials consistency in their contact with the neighborhood. This will facilitate the artists’ work as it pertains to public property and rights-of-way. The Coalition should also work with local arts organizations particularly Pratt Fine Arts and the James and Janie Washington Foundation in setting up the residency program.
While a variety of kiosk types are envisioned as part of a larger program of kiosks for the neighborhood, at the most basic level, the kiosk is a place to post information about neighborhood news and events, and it’s a place to meet and talk with neighbors. In and of itself, a kiosk is not public art, but there are numerous examples of kiosks elevated to that
level. One excellent example is in the form of a giant lamp at the Southeast corner of the Hiawatha Artist Lofts in the Jackson Place Neighborhood. While online media have absorbed some of the need for posting event announcements at kiosks, the human connection that was once made at these places has not been replaced and is still an essential component of neighbor-to-neighbor interaction. Since it’s this human element that is really at the forefront of this project, we urge artists to think creatively about how to further engage neighbors in discussion and teamwork at what are essentially neighbor meeting stations. How can neighbors work together to light up the kiosk or turn something to expose the information board? Besides permanently sited kiosks, temporary kiosks could be located in public parks to announce neighborhood events. Kiosks could unfold for special events, like the City Repair Tea House, to be a staffed information booth or fun beverage station during special events. The most important thing is that these be fun, imaginative, engaging elements to capture the idea of neighborhood as outdoor living room, rather than simply a place to post advertisements.
3. Cd history WAlking tour
Like the Central Heritage Trail, mentioned in the Central Area Neighborhood Plan and the Madison-Miller Neighborhood Plan, the Central District History Walking Tour would link a variety of important historical landmarks with physical markers and public art. A tour map could be available online, and these locations could each have a historical narration or documentation of some kind either online or through a downloadable audio recording. There are a number of like-minded projects that have already been created in part, or are in the works, particularly, the Central Heritage Trail, the Jackson Street Music History
Project, and InterIm’s work in the International District related to Jackson Street’s Music History. This group might consider joining forces with some of those existing projects, or meeting with them to glean lessons learned from their experience. Seattle Department of Transportation’s art liaison will be an excellent resource since siting markers in the rightof-way falls under their purview. History is most interesting when it is somehow relevant to people living in the community today. How can these historical sites challenge our assumptions about what is the Central District and the experiences of people who have lived there before and live there now? The group may consider developing the list of historical sites and map on a volunteer basis, then engage a group of artists to create documentary style work that focuses on the places as narrated by people living or working there today as a way of engaging local people in the project.
Inspired by the murals of the Mission District in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the community wants to expand on the existing murals in the neighborhood. The mural program would pair property owners with muralists on projects ranging from residential property owners who have an alley fence they want painted to business district property owners with high visibility walls. In addition to the murals themselves, the process of creating the murals should be a community-building process involving various diverse groups in the Central Area. This project should be fairly simple to implement and have immediately obvious results. It should be considered as one of the primary projects that the Coalition invests energy into, as we see it as a potentially early victory for public art and extremely engaging for the community.
5. summer piCniCs
Beginning as a simple community gathering at local parks where community members bring their own food, the vision is that this event becomes a forum for informal performing arts and temporary art in the park. Community members also thought holding an informal art sale could enhance this event. The event would rotate throughout the summer to a variety of public parks including Miller, Powell-Barnett, Judkins, Blanch Lavizzo, Pratt, Children’s Playground, and Flo Ware Parks. It is important that the focus of the picnic be as an art event, that the picnic be a route to deliver art to the public for it to truly engage a wide variety of community members with different backgrounds and interests. Even in its simplest beginnings, an artist should be hired to contribute art of some format to the community.
C O N C LU S I O N
The Central District is a neighborhood rich in history, culture and art. It is a neighborhood in the midst of significant demographic changes and grappling with issues of crime, poverty and affordable housing. The Central District is also filled with passionate and creative people working to improve the lives of the people who live here. This plan outlines a strategy to bring a vibrant program of public art to the Central District. The ideas and programs contained in this plan do not settle for static ”plunk art“ or beautification, but rather strive to fulfill public art’s potential to play an important role in positive neighborhood social change. As with any planning project, there is a real danger that all the effort this plan represents will not do much more than collect dust on a shelf. For this reason, in both this plan’s content and process we attempt to capitalize on participants’ excitement to implement achievable projects and programs that can continue to carry the momentum forward.
How do we define success for the ideas contained herein? If this plan is successful, what does a Public Art rich Central District look like in five, ten or twenty years? We envision a neighborhood renowned for its art and artists, and a representative organization of residents working to ensure that it stays that way. We imagine a neighborhood that, even with significant demographic shifts, weaves a rich tapestry of stories about its people, places, and events of both past, present and future. And, perhaps most importantly, we see a neighborhood where everyone knows their neighbors, and has many creative opportunities to get to know them better.
APPENDIX A : COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS
C O M M U N I T Y WO R K S H O P #1:
The first community workshop was held on Monday, March 28, 2011 from 6:30 to 9 pm at the 2100 Building on the edge of the Central Area. Over fifty people attended this project kick-off workshop, due to extensive outreach by steering committee members and consultants. Consultants created an outreach plan and online outreach tool to list all contacts as well as outreach notes. The steering committee created two outreach chair positions, one for online outreach and one for traditional outreach. DJ spun tunes, while people ate and socialized, followed by a presentation by Kistler/ Higbee Cahoot about the background of the plan and a review of the variety of public art. Then, participants broke out into small groups to talk about the kind of public art they like, where are should be in the neighborhood, general themes and community partners. Specific discussion questions are listed below. Facilitators led the discussions and took notes. The discussions were lively with many interesting ideas being raised by community members. Each group presented their ideas to the whole, and meeting notes were collected and transcribed.
1. What is your favorite example of public art? 2. What places in the CD need public art? 3. What aspect of the Central District’s cultural, historical, or environmental history or identity would you like to see expressed in public art? For example, a jazz corridor on Jackson Street? 4. What specific ideas do you have for public art in the Central District? 5. What neighborhood groups or arts organizations would be good partners for this project?
First Community Workshop, March 28th, 2011. Photo by Eric Higbee.
C O M M U N I T Y WO R K S H O P #2:
The second community workshop was held on Thursday, April 28th from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Central Area Senior Center. About 20 people attended the workshop. After some food, consultants presented a summary of the last workshop, reviewed the background of the art plan and described the format of the workshop. Informed largely by the comments generated from the first workshop, questions at the second workshop delved deeper into conceptual recommendations. A list of the discussion questions can be found below. Facilitators and note takers rotated to different small group tables which kept discussions moving and small groups acted like expert panels. Each facilitator presented a summary of the comments they heard to the whole group. All the comments were collected and transcribed.
1.) Connecting Neighbors Art that crosses the street and gets neighbors talking We have heard that people would like to see public art in their neighborhoods that gets neighbors talking to other neighbors and helps further strengthen the Central District’s social fabric. What kinds of projects or events could you instigate in your neighborhood that will help build community among neighbors? Some project ideas that we heard from the last workshop include: Intersection paintings, kiosks, garage paintings, and movie nights. 2.) Living Central District: Art that celebrates the NOW Central District residents are proud of their diverse neighborhood graced with an abundance of culinary richness, musical prowess, and other art and culture offerings. What kinds of public art and art events can celebrate the Central District’s treasures for
the rest of the city to see? What should it celebrate? Where should it happen? Some ideas we heard at the last workshop include: building on existing small festivals at Flo Ware Park, Juneteenth and Umoja Fest; celebrate food corridors; have outdoor night festivals; raise banners; and celebrate cultural diversity. 3.) An Everchanging Neighborhood: touchstones Over the years the Central District has been a community center for many of Seattle’s cultural groups, including Japanese, Jewish and Danish communities, among others. Most recently, it is the center for Seatte’s African-American Community. The face of the neighborhood continues to change as new groups make the Central District their home. How can public art help us honor the stories and places of the people who have, are, and will call the Central District their home? What stories should we tell and what places should be recognized? Some stories we heard at the last workshop include: Jazz on Jackson and other music highlights, Japanese Internment, the Civil Rights Movement, and Experience of new immigrant communities. Some ways to tell those stories included a documentary of the oral histories of people living in the CD, site-based public art that reveals history, and art that tracks demographic changes in the neighborhood. 4.) Enlivening Underused Spaces: Art that brings life to vacant lots, empty storefronts, and other underutilized places At the last workshop we heard that people wanted public art that casts its light into unused and vacant spaces, bringing energy and attention and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood improvements. What kinds of Public Art can bring life to the Central Art that honors past, present and future
District’s unused, neglected and underutilized spaces? What do you think are the top two places in the Central District that most need this kind of public art? 5.) Supporting CD Creativity: Art programs that foster and maintain artist opportunities in the Central District and mentorship programs for youth The Central District is already home to many artists and programs that get people involved in the arts. How can these efforts be strengthened so that the Central District continues to be a wellspring for the arts? Some ideas we’ve heard include: a mobile art truck or mobile kiosks, art festivals, an aerosol mural wall for all, an artist-in-residence program, live/work studio spaces for artists, a map of public art in the neighborhood, and a student photography project documenting their experience living in the neighborhood.
Second Community Workshop, April 28th, 2011. Photo by Eric Higbee
C O M M U N I T Y WO R K S H O P #3 D I S C U S S I O N P O I N T S :
The third community workshop was held on Saturday, May 21st from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Central Area Senior Center. Consultants described the background of the art plan, a summary of the last two workshops as well as work by the steering committee, talked about the guiding principles that came out of the first two workshops and read a list of project ideas. Participants were asked to vote for their favorite project as well as vote for three projects they supported. After several projects were identified as priority projects, community members were given an opportunity to caucus for their favorite project to convince other community member to join them. Community members then broke out into small groups based on the project they wanted to work on. Then they formed a plan for how to move the project forward. Each group self appointed discussion leads and note takers. Questions to facilitate the discussion are found below.
Each group presented their ideas, and the group made comments. All the notes were collected and transcribed. Objective 1: Define the Project • • • • • What do you want to do? How do you define success for this project? What are the project’s biggest obstacles? What is the timeframe for the project? What are the steps needed for creating the project?
Objective 2: Organizing the Project • What is the organizational structure needed to make this project happen? What kind of volunteer roles or staff roles are needed?
What skills, materials, and tools will be needed to implement the project?
Objective 3: Next Steps • • • • What are the next steps in the project? Are the people present ready to commit to work on the project? What skills, materials or tools can people who are present have to offer? When is your next meeting time, work party, etc? Who will be the main point of contact for the project?
Third Community Workshop, May 21st, 2011. Photo by Eric Higbee