All posts tagged: public art

Neighborhood Explorers

For the past month or two I’ve been working on curating a shelf for the Uni Project‘s launch in Boston.  The Uni is a mobile reading   room – think of it as a learning institution for public space – that was started by Leslie and Sam Davol in New York in 2012.  The way Leslie explained it to me when they first began was that she hoped to bring the Uni to places where there was a story already unfolding; that bringing books and learning to public spaces would help communities to see their neighborhoods — and themselves — in a new way.  So the Uni popped up in Corona Plaza with the Queens Museum of Art, which has community engagement at the heart of its mission.  The Uni went to Play Streets all over the city, where community groups had invited them to bring books and learning to street level.  In Brooklyn, the Uni partnered with the public library to bring lending books outside the library walls, so that kids and families could make …

drawing in public.

The Cambridge Arts Council did a fabulous exhibition at their gallery this past month.  It suggests an interesting alternate understanding of the term “public art,” and was very good looking to boot.  Here are some photos. *note* I am a member of the CAC, but have no affiliation with curating the exhibitions.  Maybe someday!

Experiments in pop-up democracy

You’re probably wondering what I’m up to these days, since it’s certainly not writing on this blog.  Well, a lot actually!  I’m working on a lot of projects for school that build on the topics I write about here, like historic preservation and economic development, informal food economies, public art happenings, and, of course, politics.  Speaking of which, I have started working on a project on experiments in “pop-up democracy,” which takes the artist interventions I admire and imagines how they could be transformed to serve a more direct political purpose such as encouraging voter turnout and educated community input into planning decisions.   You can see my proposal for a pop-up democracy framework on Participedia (which is awesome and you should check out). Next step: making something pop up!  

hello, seattle.

I spent last weekend in Seattle, a city I always think I’d love to live in if I didn’t love Cambridge so much.  It’s so rugged, so ethereally beautiful, so laid-back…and yet, so caffeinated, at the same time.  I especially love Pike’s Place Market, which even though it is dreadfully crowded and obviously a major tourist destination, is just as smelly and authentic as always.  Though I imagine it was a bit worse when they still allowed work horses in some of the market buildings. Anyhow, feast your eyes on some wonderful Seattle public art moments. Random columns at the top of a hill overlooking massive highways?  Of course! Sadly I couldn’t get a picture that included both the name of the initiative and the giant two-headed dragon in the middle of the window. There were dance diagrams like these all over street in one shopping district.  I made a total jerk out of myself trying to work out the steps. In other bronze-feet-on-sidewalk news, these are Mark Morris’s! Incredible shots overlooking Puget Sound from …

every city should have a city museum (guest post)

< this post is by my good friend Alex Reisman, whom I asked to share her thoughts about st. louis with us.  enjoy her incredible photos and this first of several entries! > Diana has invited me to write a little bit about St. Louis. I went to college there and recently returned for a six-week internship at the venerable community development corporation and mouthful Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. I feel uncharacteristically religious about St. Louis. Evangelical about its patent potential. If you walk around downtown and many neighborhoods, you might declare, as a visitor of mine did, that “it feels so empty.” But spend some time in the subtext of St. Louis and you would find that the city is in fact—to borrow a friend’s favorite word in college—rife. There are exquisite details everywhere, crumbling buildings to be restored, old mistakes to be avoided, and dire legacies of racism and economic hardship from which to recover. To a large degree, St. Louis’ redemption is and will be in the salvage of its …

a FIGMENT full of imagination.

Last month, Cambridge held its annual RiverFest, a celebration of the arts, diversity, and, well, all things Cambridge.  But this year the festival had some help from an awesome organization in New York City: FIGMENT.  Figment is an interactive public art project that challenges artists and communities to find new ways to think, interact, dream, and experience our world.  The artists who participated — both Boston and New York based — created fresh, fun, enchanting works that transformed the Charles River banks and greatly enhanced the experience of festival participants.  When I’ve discussed figment with other festivalgoers, it’s always been in an awe-filled and inspired tone that truly reflects how transporting an immersive public art experience can be. Here are some photos. More cool things about FIGMENT: no corporate sponsorship, and no waste.  there’s an impromptu, guerilla feeling about it even though it’s extremely well-orchestrated.  and there was a roving steampunk klezmer band! Props to the Cambridge Arts Council for making this happen.  They are amazing.