The public art project should be a way to brand the Central District. No, it should not try to brand the neighborhood, instead simply focusing on the people who live in the neighborhood today. No, it should highlight the rich history of people who used to live here. It should be permanent. It should be mobile. It should be an event.
The first of three public meetings for the CD Public Art Project was held last night at the 2100 Building (2100 24th Ave S). Opinions from attendees ranged all over the place, but there seemed to be some recurring ideas. Several groups voiced support for a graffiti wall and wanted to focus projects on underutilized urban spaces rather than spaces that already have art. Others ideas mentioned included the need for the projects to be cross-generational, the ability for art to increase safety in an area and the possibility to hold events in underutilized park space, such as the amphitheater in Lavizzo Park.
The goal of the meetings is to create a community vision for one or several public art projects. This planning stage is funded by a grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. After the three meetings, the CD Public Art Project will take the ideas generated by the community and pursue funding if needed to make them happen.
For the first meeting, those who attended split into groups to discuss the following questions:
- What’s your favorite example of public art?
- What spaces in the Central District are most in need of public art?
- 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.
- What specific ideas do you have for public art in the Central District?
- What neighborhood groups or arts organizations would be good partners for this project?
After discussing the questions, each group presented their notes to the whole room. The group’s hired moderators, Nicole Kistler and Eric Higbee, will work to compile the notes from each group into a form that can be built upon in the future meetings. Each meeting will likely have a different format, and you did not need to attend the first to attend the next ones.
Thursday, April 28th, 6:30-8:30 pm
Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave S (One block south of S Jackson St.)
Our planning team will report back on everything they heard from the neighborhood, and we’ll have an event where you can give feedback on the themes and ideas that have emerged.
Saturday, May 21st, 3:00-5:00 pm
Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave S (One block south of S Jackson St.)Our team will present a final plan with your ideas, and we’ll talk about what we want to implement first and how we’re going to do it.
I’m sorry I missed this event; I’ll aim to make one of the others. But I’d offer this idea: I live right up the street from Blanche Lavizzo Park. It’s a lovely spot, no doubt, but it doesn’t get 10 percent of the foot traffic that Pratt Park gets, so would be a relatively poorer investment. In my view, Pratt’s rolling hill and walking paths — not to mention the proximity of the fine arts center — make it a natural for art placement. Perhaps artists at the center could fashion a giant decorative archway or some other structure a la the Olympic sculpture park downtown (but kids wouldn’t be shooed away for touching the pieces). Just thinking out loud.
I am hoping for something iconic for the CD like Freemont’s Waiting for the Bus or Troll, Broadway’s dancing feet or Hendrix, or the Market’s Pig. The statue of the people waiting for the bus in Freemont is great when people decorate it and it is interesting and different every time. People from all over the city associate it with Freemont. The CD needs something special of its own, that can bring people together without being to abstract or divisive in any way.
I also liked the idea of some really nice community gathering places and boards to post events. Not sure how they could really be executed properly , but I like the idea.
Bring back the Stone Sofa!