As we close out 2017 I’m thank for the numerous neighbors, leaders, artists, and organizations I have had the honor of working with to Make Place Happen in Baltimore and beyond. From championing pedestrian accessibility around Druid Hill Park, to exploring the robust and emerging civic spaces and public art projects of Arlington County, to colorfully reconfiguring concrete paving for playful action, place is truly what we made of it. Public space is not just constructed out of tactile materials like pavement, landscaping, and benches, but also the intangible – knowledge, organizing, and programming. Through New Public Sites walking tours we poetically re-experienced everyday public spaces while learning from community leaders and civil servants how to affect change at the block level. Artscape showed that streets and bridges don’t have to be just for cars, but can also be spaces for ecstatic pedestrian interactions. Workshops like the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Visioning Home created spaces for inclusively mapping out creative futures for the city. I am inspired by my collaborators who believe that we can expand such temporary zones of autonomy into lasting places of accessibility, well-being, joy, and freedom.
FGLA’s Interactive Periscope Public Art for Central Avenue approved by Baltimore City
The Baltimore City Public Art Commission approved FGLA’s public art concept for an interactive Periscope tower and plaza at the intersection of Central Avenue and Pratt Street. This work is the percent-for-art commission part of the Central Avenue streetscape project. The Periscope’s angled mirrors will make it possible for people walking by to see elevated views of the neighborhood. Its color, form, and integrated plaza are inspired by local waterways, including City Springs, Harford Run, and the Patapsco River. The 25’ tall Periscope will be constructed of cast-in-place concrete, colored plexiglass supported by a welded frame, and surrounded by a plaza of integral color concrete. Inscribed on the obelisk pedestal will be the names of the three local water bodies that makeup the watershed where the Periscope stands.
The triangle crossing at Pratt Street offers a unique opportunity for a truly public, plaza-like place along Central Avenue. The angled intersection provides panoramic views of Baltimore’s diverse pasts and futures. From this vantage one can see historical rowhomes, public housing in transition, public art, and ongoing development up and down Central Avenue. The view facing east frames City Springs school, which takes its name from a spring that once existed where its athletic field now lays. Synthesizing these views, Periscope will stand as an obelisk-like monument to water in place and pedestrian oversight. Inverting the hierarchy of Baltimore’s omnipresent blue surveillance lights, the tower will empower pedestrians with elevated views of their surroundings while colorfully evoking the water cycle of precipitation, collection, and flow.
Periscope will be fabricated and installed in 2019.
Periscope nighttime view facing southeast.
Periscope street view perspective featuring periscopic mirrors reflecting a nearby building.
Periscope plan feature blue integral color concrete plaza.
Come down to the Artscape Charles Street Trail this weekend, July 21-23, to explore Dancing Forest, a kinetic environment of inflatable trees emblazoned with trail markers identifying Baltimore’s many classic places, features, and customs. Participants are encouraged to walk among and explore the the animated trees as they undulate in the sky. Up close, one will find an array of urban trail symbols, such as benches, snowballs, bikers, and buildings. Internal LED illumination of the sculptures allows nighttime exploration. Combining spectacular movement with urban wayfinding symbols, Dancing Forest creates an exciting, playful environment meant to inspire participants continue exploring Baltimore’s many intriguing places.
The Charles Street Trail is located on Charles Street between Penn Station and Lanvale Street.
Click here to learn more about Dancing Forest and its trail markers. Post your pictures to social media using the hashtag #DancingForest @grahamprojects for likes and retweets!
Since going full-time for Graham Projects I’ve had the honor of investigating, activating, and improving numerous public places in Baltimore and beyond. 2016 was a great year for making place happen with inspiring people. I am thankful.
- At the invitation of the Waterfront Partnership, Melvin Thomas and I made a 103’ long Harbor Hopscotch.
- My New Public Sites – Five Points Denver walking tours and immersive map installation went gangbusters at RedLine’s 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art Summit. Along the way, I was honored to share the megaphone and learn from half a dozen local speakers.
- With support from BikeMore and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, my home street Auchentoroly Terrace got a temporary Footprints Crosswalk to help pedestrians better connect with the Druid Hill Park Farmers Market.
- Working with an inspiring network of cultural organizers across Baltimore, I helped lead Citizen Artist Baltimore get-out-the-vote vote efforts. Bigly surprises aside, we informed local candidates of the values of our city’s diverse arts and cultural communities and educated voters on the importance of local races and ballot initiatives.
- I was honored to be invited by Baltimore Heritage to join their board of historic and cultural preservation advocates. I’m excited to be working with them on saving Baltimore’s most meaningful places.
- I had a fun time making water loop while redesigning Dance & Bmore’s website. May I do the same for you?
- The Public Art for Central Avenue Streetscape project continues. Falon Mihalic and I are busy closing in on our final design for a 25’ tall, pedestrian-empowering Periscope. Stay tuned for the full announcement and renderings…
Wandering the Pike
September 11 & 18, 2016
Columbia Pike Farmers Market
2820 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204
Join public artist Graham Coreil-Allen to explore and reimagine the urban and suburban spaces of Columbia Pike in Arlington, Virginia on this alternative walking tour beginning at the Columbia Pike Farmers Market. All are invited to participate as we take turns sharing our insights into the history, design and uses of everyday public spaces. The former rural toll road served as an early economic lifeline connecting Washington DC to Virginia. Columbia Pike quickly grew into a booming stretch of motorist amenities at the expense of pedestrian safety and accessibility. Wander the Pike to experience firsthand how residents and leaders are helping to transform the suburban drag into an walkable main street for all. Click here for more details on the tours.
Free and open to the public. RSVP to Paul Shortt at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wandering the Pike is presented by Arlington Arts of Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, uses the power of the arts to transform lives and build community, and provides programs and services to create an environment that encourages excellence in the Arlington arts community.
Great news! Falon Mihalic and I won the permanent public art commission for the Baltimore Central Ave Streetscape project. We are excited to meet with the project team and neighborhood stakeholders in Baltimore starting next week. Read our full announcement below!
Public Artists Graham Coreil-Allen and Falon Mihalic won the Baltimore Central Avenue Streetscape Percent for Art commission to create a permanent work of public art on Central Avenue.
Baltimore City’s Central Avenue Streetscape project encompasses major improvements running from Baltimore to Lancaster Streets. Falon-Graham-Land-Art (FGLA) will work with the Department of Transportation, Floura Teeter Landscape Architects, and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts to incorporate a public art project into the Central Avenue corridor.
To the Central Avenue Streetscape project, FGLA brings creative vision and public space experience, an ability to listen to and work with constituents, and local sensitivity to history, the environment and public space potential. Falon designs landscapes and public artwork rooted in local ecology and culture. Graham Coreil-Allen works on numerous socially-engaged projects that activate public spaces. Together, Mihalic and Coreil-Allen will develop a project that will be inclusive of local communities and their deep historical heritages, contribute to ecological awareness, and foster a strong visual and spatial experience for Central Avenue participants.
Previously, FGLA were national finalists in the Baltimore Red Line Art-in-Transit Public Art competition to integrate public art into the Poppleton Station transit plaza. Combining our local insight with international experience, FGLA is committed to improving Baltimore through public art placemaking, built environment know-how, green-practice expertise, and playful pedestrian design.
Follow our public art process on instagram and twitter: @falonland @grahamprojects #publicart4centralave #FGLA
Graham Coreil-Allen, Graham Projects, grahamprojects.com
Falon Mihalic, Falon Land Studio, falonland.com
Welcome to the expanded practice of Graham Projects. After ten years of public art and organizing with numerous people and organizations I hold dear, I’ve decided to take Graham Projects to the next level: a full-time livelihood of working with people to enliven and strengthen places. The newly expanded mission of Graham Projects recognizes that improving cities through public art inherently entails concrete forms of civic engagement, design, and communications. From leading New Public Sites radical walking tours and enacting playful pedestrian paths to designing graphic identities for community groups and collaborating with stakeholders on leveraging shared visions, I’ve been mixing creative engagement strategies for years. In recognition of all that I do, the Graham Projects creative services are now placed front and center and everyone is invited to participate. Shoot me a line if you like what you seen and want to work together. I’m always up for new ideas, questions, and visits. – Graham
I’m honored and excited to acknowledge my role helping to co-organize the art voting initiative Citizen Artist Baltimore along with my friend and fellow arts and equity advocate Rebecca Chan. Citizen Artist Baltimore is a non-partisan advocacy effort that is helping to mobilize the creative community in Baltimore City, by providing the opportunity for mayoral candidates to outline their positions and goals related to arts, culture and humanities. The effort serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations, and institutions to work together to advance inclusion of these issues in the April 2016 Primary Mayoral Election and beyond. The initiative also encourages voter registration and long-term engagement in the democratic process. We are collecting the top priorities of people who care about the arts through a citywide series of six facilitated listening sessions in January 2016. Input gathered from these listening sessions will be used to inform a questionnaire that will be sent to mayoral candidates in February. All candidate responses will be made public, and will culminate in a March candidate forum leading up to the April 26, 2016 Primary Election.
As all of my public art projects, I’m operating in a few different ways to to amplify our message and mobilize participants. As the initiative’s Creative Director, I designed the the #CitizenArtistBmore visual identity above, built the website, assisted with co-writing all of the copy featured, am designing all of the print collateral (such as these fun buttons), and am documenting events and pushing a multimedia story out across our facebook and twitter pages. As a co-organizer, I’ve been working closely with Rebecca, GBCA, MCA and our diverse steering committee members to host our series of six listening sessions across the city. We talking with anyone who benefits from arts and culture about their top priorities with it come to the arts, Baltimore City, and our next mayor. From block parties and creative upstarts to public art and marching band performances, the arts have for decades been making a tremendous social and economic impact in Baltimore. We all know this and want to make sure that the next mayor includes arts and culture in their vision for healing and strengthening an already vibrant and unparalleled cultural epicenter: Baltimore, the Greatest City in America.
As the future of 2016 grows from burgeoning horizon, I wanted share a few updates on recent current projects. Last year proved exceptional for my public art mission to interpret, critique, activate and improve the public space of our everyday lives.
I had the great privilege of staging my first true solo show with ICA Baltimore at Current Space last spring. With the support of a Rubys Grant, my show SiteLines was the culmination of a series of radical walking tours I organized in 2014 seeking to understand overlooked public spaces in and around some of Baltimore’s highway foleys and pedestrian malls. It so happened that the show opened just as the Baltimore Uprising began to take shape in the streets.
The day of the first major Freddie Gray march, I led 44 participants on my Crossing the Highway to Nowhere tour. As I talked about West Side struggles against top-down planning, a helicopter hovering over the nearby protest split off and followed us as we gathered at the edge of Route 40. After crossing the highway our group began to head back to the gallery, only to run directly into the Freddie Gray march. To join was urgently appropo. On that day a modest crowd of Radical Pedestrians merged with a much larger force of walking movement in our city.
After SiteLines, I was invited to develop a New Public Sites project exploring the invisible sites, contradictory features and historical spirits embedded in downtown Rockville for Come Back to Rockville, a two person show with Naoko Wowsugi at VisArts curated by Laura Roulet. Naming my project, “The Ragged Edge of Rockville”, I created a gallery installation, shot new videos and staged a series of tours in and around VisArts, the Rockville Library, the Beall Dawson House and a special gravesite. Along the way we learned that Rockville twice entirely razed its downtown. What’s since emerged is an uncanny image of pedestrian urbanism embedded with the beginnings of civic spaces while hiding parking garages for car-bound shoppers. Thankfully the various redevelopment schemes spared the town’s historic Catholic cemetery – final resting place for literary icons F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, Mark Jenkins at the Washington Post took a stroll through the gallery and wrote this review.
Immediately following my Rockville drift, I began work on another New Public Sites tour and installation, this time in collaboration with McDaniel College students and residents of Union Street in Westminster, Maryland. I was honored to have “New Public Sites – McDaniel / Westminster” commissioned by curator Izabel Galliera for her group show Alternative Cartographies. Through a new map, bulletin boards and Shards of Site, we investigated the overlooked yet meaningful public spaces between an idyllic hilltop and historic neighboring streets. New Public Sites are not just in big cities, but also among rural towns and suburbs alike. Rebecca Juliette from BmoreArt still made it up and posted this on the group show.
Infinite Thanks for all the support. Let’s keep on projecting thoughts from radical walks through 2016 and beyond. Check back for updates on my forthcoming tour shattering Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Spectacle, and other delightful spring walks.
PS: Many thanks also to Baltimore Clayworks and School 33 for the opportunities to lead wanders through Mount Washington and of Baltimore City’s amazing murals.
Artist Talk on Public Practice
BSLA Emerging Professionals
Thursday, January 15, 6:30pm
130 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
I’m honored to be presenting on my public art practice, New Public Sites and Radical Pedestrianism at the Boston Society of Landscape Architects Emerging Professionals group in Boston this Thursday. All are welcome, Join us!