Its July in Baltimore, which means its time for the nation’s largest free art festival – Artscape! Building off of the outrageous success of last year’s Dancing Forest of inflatable trees, I’m now teaming up with with fellow Baltimore public artist Becky Borlan on Choose Your Own Adventure!Choose your own Adventure will transform the Charles Street Bridge at Penn Station into a colorful playscape of pedestrian pathways and hanging beach balls. Spray chalk lines will mark a site-based map converging under a forest of beach balls hanging from an open air structure.
Choose your own Adventure takes inspiration from the natural paths taken by street-crossing pedestrians, the Jones Falls and train tracks below, and the joyful experiences of summer-inspired toys. The kinetic environment will feature hundreds of colorful, translucent beach balls and multiple lounging options for festival goers to find respite from the summer sun. Participants who choose to explore will discover curious signs offering choices for adventures beyond. Through tactical urbanism and creative design, the installation will preview possibilities for completely transforming the Charles Street Bridge into an immersive pedestrian environment and playful visionary experience.
As we close out 2017 I’m thankful 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 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.
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.
HopXscotch Rivalry: A cross-hopping, street race for two!
HopXcotch Rivalry will be two extreme hopscotch courses crossing for one action packed, two person race. Inspired by the success of my Hopscotch Crosswalks in downtown Baltimore, I’m staging this new project to bring playful pedestrian action to the intersection of Charles and Lanvale Streets, in the middle of Artscape’s Field Day, coming up on July 18-20. Participants will start at competing ends of hopscotch paths and must jump fast while staying on track. The two 50’ long courses meet at the middle, presenting an opportunity for racers to bump each other off course. The easy-to-understand and play game will be enhanced with organized hopscotch tournaments at scheduled times throughout the Artscape weekend.
FIELD DAY is a collection of participatory games, activities, performances and competitions designed by artists, which will be free and open to the public during the 2014 Artscape. Seven installations will be featured along the Charles Street corridor; visitors to Artscape will be able to experience each “station” as simply a viewer or by competing against friends, the artist-organizer or gaining a “high score.”
Curated by: Michael Benevento, Jason Corace and Andrew Liang.
FIELD DAY is a program of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Inc. (BOPA).
A cold winter of public art proposal writing means a hot summer of playful urban exploration! I am honored to announce that I am an inaugural recipient of a Rubys Artist Project Grant for my forthcoming participatory video tour series, SiteLines. In addition, I will be staging HopXcotch Rivalry as part of the Field Day program at the Artscape festival in Baltimore this July.
Situated within the invisible sites and overlooked features of our everyday urban environment, my ongoing New Public Sites project tests the boundaries of pedestrian agency, interprets the overlooked and banal, and investigates the negotiable nature of public space. SiteLines will be a translation of my radical walking tours and urban design research into sharable videos and a gallery installation. Feature dramatic shots of public space and pedestrian interactions therein, the videos will present a compelling portrait of Baltimore and its civic space potential. The entire SiteLines season will be be released on the New Public Sites YouTube channel on a periodic basis, then shown at a Baltimore gallery alongside “non-site” sculptures of found materials, an immersive map installation and large posters of poetic New Public Sites nomenclature. As a season of social video and multimedia installation, SiteLines will show local and online audiences how a practice of radical pedestrianism can reinvent invisible public space.
HopXscotch Rivalry: A cross-hopping, street race for two!
HopXcotch Rivalry will be two extreme hopscotch courses crossing for one action packed, two person race. Inspired by the success of my Hopscotch Crosswalks in downtown Baltimore, I’m staging this new project to bring playful pedestrian action to the middle of Artscape’s Field Day programing along Charles Street. Participants will start at competing ends of the yellow and teal hopscotch paths and must jump fast while staying on track. The two 50’ long courses meet at the middle, presenting an opportunity for racers to bump each other of course. The easy-to-understand and play game will be enhanced with organized hopscotch tournaments at scheduled times throughout the Artscape weekend.