Wandering the Pike

NPS Wandering the Pike

NPS Wandering the Pike

Wandering the Pike

September 11 & 18, 2016
11am-12:30pm

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: pshortt@arlingtonva.us.

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.

Harbor Hopscotch

Harbor Hopscotch southeast

Harbor Hopscotch southeast

Harbor Hopscotch

All are invited to jump the Harbor Hopscotch from now through the end of summer!  Harbor Hopscotch is a 103’ long, colorful hopscotch court playfully activating a ramp entrance to West Shore Park at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The temporary installation of teal, electric blue, and fuchsia colored spray chalk was commissioned by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore to bring more people into the south end of this prominent public space. Pedestrians strolling on the Inner Harbor Promenade are met with a large project ground graphic inviting them to hop up the ramp leading into West Shore Park. The graphic also encourages participants to share pictures of each other jumping using the hashtag #HarborHopscotch and @waterfrontpartnership.

Click here for more pictures of this epic court of pedestrian hopscotch play!

Public Art for Central Avenue!

FGLA Central Ave Announcement-1920px

FGLA Central Ave Announcement-1920px

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

Citizen Artist Baltimore

CitizenArtist-logo-horizontal

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.

– Graham

160109-CitizenArtistBaltimore-Southwest-ListeningSession-01

New Public Docu of 2015

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.

SiteLines Current Install - 01

SiteLines Exhibit

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.

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SiteLines Tours

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.

Here is what a few others had to say: ArtFCity, Bret McCabeGBCALandscape Architecture Magazine, and BmoreArt.

151017 NPS-Rockville-walking-tour - 15

The Ragged Edge of Rockville

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.

nps-mw-map-banner-preview

New Public Sites – McDaniel / Westminster

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.

Cheers,

Graham signature teal

 

 

 

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 at the Boston Society of Landscape Architects

141231 Hopscotch Crosswalks Colossus - aerial view

Artist Talk on Public Practice

BSLA Emerging Professionals
Thursday, January 15, 6:30pm
Reed Hilderbrand
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!

Struggle and Joy in the Druid Hill Park Memorial Pool

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824
Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen

Struggle and Joy in the Druid Hill Park Memorial Pool

By Graham Coreil-Allen
Originally Published in What Weekly, January 8, 2014
Edited by Marcus Civin

I recently moved in across the street from Druid Hill Park. A friend told me about a place little-known to neighborhood outsiders—a once abandoned public pool now filled in with dirt, covered in grass and framed with sumptuous, meandering walkways designed by celebrated Baltimore artist Joyce J. Scott. Wandering through the park on a warm, sunny afternoon, I discovered the large, rectangular grassy field framed by cobalt blue ceramic tiles, expansive marble steps and forgotten structures belonging to what was once Baltimore’s only segregation era public pool for African-Americans. Long cherished by generations of residents formerly restricted to only certain park facilities, the dignified yet understated Memorial Pool remains as a landscape of memory honoring the pride and struggles of Baltimore’s black community.

Druid Hill Park Pool No. 2 undated Afro American Newspaper

[Swimming pool], Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, undated, The Afro-American Newspapers Collection, via Project Gado

North of the reservoir and east of the Jones Falls, the pool once anchored a larger complex of tennis courts, trees and a playground that collectively stood as Druid Hill Park’s only “negro” recreational facilities. The 100 foot by 105 foot “Pool No. 2”, as it was originally known, was built in 1921 to meet the recreational and competitive swimming needs of all of Baltimore’s hundreds of thousands of African-Americans. Elsewhere in the city, six separate public pools were well-maintained but off-limits to African-Americans. Despite being nearly half the size of the nearby, whites-only Pool No. 1, Pool No. 2 proved so popular that the crowds had to be admitted in shifts. Nevertheless, the patrons of color took pride in taking care of their grounds and keeping the area clean and attractive. The African-American competitive athletics society members that gathered around the space also showed off their finest in tennis fashion while meeting their future husbands and wives and socializing with friends and neighbors. Both the pool and surrounding segregated tennis courts were frequented by many of the era’s most accomplished black athletes. These visits and other aspects of Druid Hill Park’s history are noted on signs throughout the park and in books such as Eden Unger Bowditch’s Druid Hill Park: The Heart of Historic Baltimore.

Druid Hill Park Swimming Pool August 1948 Paul Henderson

[Swimming pool], Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, August 1948, Paul Henderson, (1899-1988), 4×5 inch film negative. Baltimore City Life Museum Collection, HEN.01.03-013, via Maryland Historical Society Photographs

Things began to change in 1953 when an African-American boy accidentally drowned while swimming with friends in the Patapsco River. He lived near Clifton Park but was not allowed to swim in the park’s whites-only pool. For this reason it was thought that he chose to swim in the dangerous river feeding Baltimore Harbor’s Middle Branch. As a result, the NAACP pushed for all Baltimore municipal pools to be opened to all races. When the Parks Board refused, the NAACP filed a lawsuit, which they eventually won on appeal. On June 23, 1956, all of the city’s public pools were opened for the summer season on a non-segregated basis. That opening day, over 100 African-Americans reportedly braved the waters in Pool No. 1, while only one white person swam in Pool. No. 2. After that summer of transition, Pool No. 2 was closed for good in an effort to eliminate all vestiges of the city’s former “separate but equal” swimming infrastructure. After that point, all Druid Hill Park patrons wishing to swim had access to the twice-as-large and still existing Pool No. 1.

Forty years after Pool No. 2 closed, the concrete structure lay dangerously empty while the surrounding tennis courts stood in need of repair. Then, in the mid-nineties, park officials began talking with residents about what they most valued about Druid Hill Park. This was the research phase of the 1995 Druid Hill Park Master Plan. During this research phase, the planners discovered that local residents shared a strong sense of nostalgia for the historically African-American section of the park. In response, the adopted master plan called for, “a meditative, artistic, and informative setting acknowledging the segregation era at the site of the formerly “Negroe Pool”.” After a 1996 open call for proposals, Baltimore artist Joyce J. Scott was selected to redesign the pool as a place of reflection and celebration. By that point, Scott was well-known for her provocative, figurative beaded sculptures dealing with issues of race, class and gender. Growing up in Sandtown, Scott had frequented Druid Hill Park as a child and swam in the formerly whites-only pool. During an interview for this article, the artist shared with me some of her unrealized visions for the memorial design as well as her take on how the Memorial Pool’s symbolic and functional design represents the slow progress around issues of race and class in Baltimore. We also discussed the memorial as it exists today and it’s contextual surrounds in Druid Hill Park.

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

As its remains today, the now weathered Memorial Pool area continues to serve the tennis and recreational needs of hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American park goers annually. Memorial Pool is on the southwest corner of Shop and Commissary Roads. The space is fronted by a wide, concrete pad embedded with large-scale, faded red and orange curvy concrete patterns framed by four square columns that consist of 24 inch square by 12 inch tall marble blocks stacked approximately nine feet tall and topped with diagonally sloped capitals that look like one corner of a pyramid. The chisel-topped columns suggest the outline of the old field house where pool tickets were once sold. A wide flight of marble steps leads to a 105 feet long by 100 feet wide rectangular expanse of grass resting approximately seven feet below street level.

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

The grassy void is outlined by a thin perimeter of two rows of 2 inch square ” blue tiles surrounded by concrete sidewalks embedded with undulating patterns of orange, red and blue based on traditional African motifs representing peace, tranquility and community bonds. Around the blue perimeter tiles stand blue-painted armatures of the forlorn diving board; ladders and lifeguard stations that function as uncanny reminders of the space’s former aquatic use while also serving as skeletal sundials casting angular shadows across concrete and grass. Running parallel to the length of the pool’s north side stands a low-lying brown wooden building that used to house the men’s dressing rooms. The structure is topped with a black, pitched roof featuring a wave of blue roofing tiles symbolizing water. Around the void, the subtly colorful concrete pavement continues beyond the perimeter before turning into a meandering, southbound path accented by collections of cement-set riverstones. The river-like path connects the Memorial Pool to the nearby tennis courts, picnic grove and playground. Both ends of the path are marked with stanchions detailing the site’s rich history.

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

The entire site is surrounded on two sides by park maintenance facilities including loading docks, garages and trucks. On the other side of Shop Road, behind a small parking lot and two tennis courts, the historic St. Paul’s cemetery is in need of extensive restoration. The contextual contradictions and resonances of the Memorial Pool as a place of memory next to that same active loading dock and the crumbling cemetery were not lost on Joyce Scott when she approached the project in 1999. Scott first asked herself, “How do we make this area useful and beautiful, and harken back to the pool era?”

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824In designing the functional monument, she states that her intent was to create an “art situation where people can go into space and hopefully be, and have a variety of uses.” Early on, there were plans to include programming in the grassy area, with the hope being that people would want to sit, picnic or just relax around the space. In addition to the architectural framing devices and aquatic symbolism, the original installation included abstract, colorful painted designs on the pavement around the pool that have since faded from the concrete surface and disappeared due to time and weather. Scott’s initial vision also included a series of metal tree sculptures embedded with clay panels and mirrors. These trees would have stood on the stony shoals of the river-like connecting path. In the end, the artist’s trees of reflection and remembrance were omitted from the plans after some members of the community expressed concern that the sculptures would have evoked lynching. While the artist strongly disagrees with this interpretation, at the time she thought it was best to acquiesce to the constituents’ concerns. By asking Scott to compromise her design, the neighbors may have unintentionally made the southern end of the memorial harder to recognize as a space of memory. In comparison to the northern end, the southern end of the memorial comes off more subtle in its overall presence, reading less like a public memorial and more like a creatively designed sidewalk with a historical marker.

For all that Pool No. 2 represents about the history of struggle over African-American access to public spaces in Baltimore, it seems inevitable that any attempt to memorialize the space would cause some controversy. But through her own vision and standing, Scott was able to effectively work with various city departments, the Maryland State Arts Council, and local community groups on creating a unique space of memory that honors the joys and struggles embedded in Druid Hill Park. The artist tells a story of how, back before desegregation, the white-only Pool No. 1 was unfiltered and connected directly to the reservoir, while the African-American Pool No. 2 was filtered in order to “de-negroize” the water to ensure the safety of the rest of the city. Inadvertently, this offensive policy resulted in a better experience for African-Americans. Scott succinctly states, “What was seen as a way of restraining someone only made them stronger.” She continues to explain that African-Americans in Baltimore responded to racist oppression by building up their own safe spaces and strong institutions. African-American strength was expressed through socializing, play and competition at the only pool offered by the city.

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

 

For me, the psychic presence remaining from the decades of aquatic joy and athletic gathering can no doubt be felt as I stand at the pool’s grassy, western edge, next to a diving board casting long afternoon shadows. For Scott, the Memorial Pool represents, “the sway and the slow change in our race history in our city that isn’t really that much of a change.” Indeed, as it lays today, the history, form and condition of the Memorial Pool makes a compelling, if at times concerning, analogy for Baltimore City as a whole. A brief stroll from Harbor East through the Inner Harbor and then into Lexington Market shows that while the city is much more racially integrated than it once was, it still remains intensely segregated, especially by class. Economic progress has been made in some areas while paint peels off in others. It’s through the Memorial Pool’s poignant contradictions of place and history that Scott reminds us of the inseparability between pleasure and strife. States the artist: “People have to remember that struggle and joy go hand in hand. You don’t many times understand the beauty of joy unless you go through a struggle.”

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

Memorial Pool, 1999, by Joyce J. Scott, photograph by Graham Coreil-Allen 130824

 

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus Construction

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus boots progress

Construction of the Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus at the corner of Eutaw and Lombard Streets in downtown Baltimore is now complete. As the public continues to show their excitement in person and online, I thought I would share a few initial shots and a little background on the project. My project is one of three sets of artist-designed crosswalks made possible by Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts for the Bromo Seltzer Arts & Entertainment District. To the BOPA open call, I responded with the following proposal:

The Monumental City is played by giants among many – the business person, the bird, the worker and you. Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus is an intersection of four oversized hopscotch-court-crosswalks, each featuring a quintessential Baltimore path-print. Featuring the shoe, the bird track, the boot and the footprint, the project is a monument to the people who populate the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District and make Baltimore The Greatest City in America.

North Side: The Shoe – The Towering Businessperson skips east approaching downtown skyscrapers. 
East Side: The Bird Track – The Superbird Champion hops south heading to Camden Yards and The Raven’s Walk. 
South Side: The Boot – Wobbling west The Worker passes through a former garment district built by labor. 
West Side: The Footprint – The Hippie Artist bounces north with abandon towards lofty digs in the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District.

Additional coverage can be found at the Baltimore Sun, NPR, Co.DesignAtlantic Cities and WJZ CBS Baltimore. Enjoy! – Graham

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus Birdtracks.JPG

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus feet progress

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus intersection progress

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus tower view

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus Overhead VIew Complete

Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus Coreil-Allen progress