Friday, May 23, 2014

small spaces: lafayette

yesterday i signed my contract to begin a big project with the city of lafayette.  and i'm really excited about this one.  it has been in the discussion phase for about 2 months (though it has been in my head for a few years), and yesterday it was brought before the public board of works for approval/disapproval.  and after a brief discussion session our project was approved unanimously.

about the project.  it is a street art project called small spaces: Lafayette.  we will be seeking 40-60 neglected spaces in the lafayette downtown between 2nd st. and 11th. and alabama st. and ferry.  neglected spaces means boarded up windows and doors, deteriorating painted surfaces, garage doors, access doors, poles, posts, sign boards and any other space people tend to walk by without looking.  using these types of spaces will allow us to integrate street art into lafayette's historic downtown, without marking up any of the bricks or detracting from the classic look of our downtown.  we will simply be enhancing the spaces that have been neglected with some temporal contemporary art.  and all with building owner approval, but i feel like building owners will want to participate.  the point is to seamlessly meld the visual history of our city's infrastructure with contemporary street art; keeping one foot in the past, while opening a door to step into the future. 

we will more or less be creating an art scavenger hunt through the downtown district.  there will be new pieces popping up all summer, with different artists stopping by at different times to contribute a space or 2 or 3.  we will be using around 15 different local and regionally invited artists to create works for the spaces.  there will be paintings, stencils, paper cuts, paste ups, graffiti writing, installations, sculpture, and hopefully some kinetic pieces as well.  technically speaking all works will be installations as they will all be site-specific creations.

we are also working on an app-based information guide for the project.  i feel like anyway that i can allow people to use their smart phones to interact with the art is a smart thing to do.  even if their only use is following a map to selected sites.  we will be documenting all installation with photos and video to give our public access to the artists and their processes.  and a free app that has all this information can open up a whole new level of access to everyone.  and that's the goal of street art: accessibility.  

i'm really excited about this project and i can't wait to get started.  the first pieces will start popping up in a few short weeks.  there's a few specifics to work out yet, but we are on our way.  thank you so much to the public board of works for hearing our proposal and approving the contract.  and most of all this project is taking off because we have some great people working in our redevelopment office here in lafayette.  when i approached margy deverall with this idea a couple months back, she jumped all over, working through the logistics and creating something concrete and understandable from my vague idealized statements of what i thought street art could do for lafayette.  and our director of economic development, dennis carson, who has supported this idea since we first spoke about it.  without their help, specifically, we would have never got this off the ground.  and so quickly at that.  now the exciting part begins.  the work.

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