Grades for Public Spaces (design phase)

Sara's sketcbook

Sara and I spent some time planning out some very preliminary designs for our Grades for Public Spaces project. The gist of the project is to have a series of rubrics to annotate / grade public space — or rather, use those rubrics as a tool to generate conversation and engagement in the use and rethinking the use of public spaces. This project will probably accompany some upcoming drifts we’re planning.

Justin's sketchbook

We’re planning carbon-copy style prints, anyone ever print anything like that before?

The stickies — trying to map out the carbon copy part of the pages.

Can’t wait to get some rough designs up! Soon.

BCL Report: End of April, 2011 (the Art of Planning & Collaboration)

Over three days this week, we got a lot done. And, as I write this, stuff is still getting done. This is why collaboration is such a valuable model for art practice.

But, it’s not just about getting stuff done, it’s the challenges, the insights, the novel perspectives that can be brought up around a table that push the work forward. With some of us having worked together for nearly three years, we can anticipate one another and move ideas and projects that much further along because there’s a context, there’s a history, there’s a resonating understanding of what we can do together.

Collaboration FTW.

Continue reading “BCL Report: End of April, 2011 (the Art of Planning & Collaboration)”

Already thinking about next summer

This week’s meeting started off kind of slow. A long week had us collectively feeling strapped for good ideas, but we had a specific task list in front of us. Looking at the calendar, an idea we had talked about not all that long ago, suddenly has a pressing deadline.

We’re looking to put together another residency of sorts. This time, it’s going to be shorter, but more collaborative. Everyone who comes will have the chance to work with everyone else on a project that we sort out all together. The residency will be 5 days long, and then there will be a 2-day conference at the end of the residency where we’ll talk about everything that happened and more. There will be a couple of keynotes at the conference too.

To be able to pull off this conference though, we’ll need to write another grant. The deadline that we have to hit is October 15, hence the pressing deadline.

Continue reading “Already thinking about next summer”

This is Going to be a Good Year

We met tonight and we’re feeling good. It was a long summer, but we know what we want to do in the coming months. It’s going to be really, really great.

And really, how could it not be? These letters are looking so good so far!!!

So much more soon.

An Imaginary Platform: 2010 Municipal Elections in Windsor

We’ve updated our imaginary campaign post to reflect some recent (positive) changes:

Our projects try to work around the realities that we encounter in Windsor on a daily basis. We address these realities creatively, and so the ways in which we address them don’t always translate to solutions. We usually try to suggest the change we’d like to see, albeit on a small scale. So, in continuing with this work, we offer the following:

We’re little less than 3 months away from the 2010 municipal elections here in Windsor. We’re not sure what to make of all the candidates entirely at this point, though it’s encouraging to see so many people entering the process.

It’s essentially a given that we’ll have the same mayor for a third term (or maybe not?), but we’ll likely see a number of new councillors. This is, in large part, due to the new 10 Ward system along with promises from councillors to not run again.

In hopes of imaging a greater city, we’d like to propose the following platform. It has gaps, it’s biased, it’s potentially unfundable, but it’s a list of ideas that we think could make Windsor a better place to live:

  • Have at least two open-air city council meetings at Charles Clark Square, encourage a large audience, showcase democracy in action.
  • Find a private partner and retrofit the Armouries tomorrow: get the WSO their permanent venue, renovate smaller spaces for artist studios, and keep larger rooms for small theatre performances.
  • Sort out the Capitol Theatre appropriately. Clear the way to make it easier for WIFF to do more screenings, for Artcite to stay put (if they want to), for community theatre groups to do more performances, and to give Media City a consistent and reliable venue.
  • Partner with the University to put a large multi-department Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences building in that parking lot across from the AGW and the downtown bus depot.
  • Raise the cost of keeping buildings vacant. Do this immediately.
  • Encourage small businesses to locate downtown by offering free-rent for the first 6 months they’re in business. It didn’t take long — some folks picked up on that idea. Offer rent at 50% for the following 6 months if the business hires to 2 of more employees in the first 6 months.
  • Connect Transit Windsor with Tecumseh and the county with express buses, and do a better job at integrating with Detroit, get aggressive with promoting the use of public transit for everyday commutes.
  • Commit to planting more trees on those barren stretches of sidewalks. Who wants to walk next to 4 lanes of traffic in the baking sun?
  • Get bikes lanes in that make sense, ask the everyday riders where they go and how they like to get there, cross-reference that information with new public transit plans to make it easy to bike short commutes and dead simple to connect to the transit system for longer ones.
  • Initiate an aggressive campaign to retain talent that graduates from the University and St. Clair. It’s unacceptable to sit idly by as our best and brightest move to bigger cities. Short-term subsidies to start a business fresh out of school, 6 months of free studio / rehearsal space for artists, musicians, and performers. Tell the world that we are doing this.
  • Empower and fund people at the city like Jim Yanchula to act on their ideas.
  • Give the Cultural Affairs Office the resources to do good things and help that office to understand the needs of the arts and cultural community.
  • Commit to acting on Community Improvement Plans with an actionable to-do list over the 4-year term.
  • Create an international competition to design gateways for our city (at the border and from the 401 at the least), then make sure there’s money to actually build these gateways. Advertisements should not be allowed.
  • Start an innovation prize by partnering with Essex County and appropriate Economic Development entities to solve large problems and reward real innovation happening here.
  • Convert 30% of riverfront and other key city-owned spaces to naturalized areas.
  • Make the deep and rich histories of this region a part of everyday life — provide artists, community leaders, local historians, and elders resources to demarcate small and large historical occurrences.
  • Own and embrace that we are an international city with an unbelievable wealth of multi-cultural communities.

If you’re running for council, please steal these ideas.

New Project Soon (Keep Your July Open)

Not that we don’t already have our hands full, but seeing as it’s nearly March, we’re starting to look ahead to summer time activities. These activities might be somewhat related to this ongoing conversation we’ve been having on the blog.

We’ll be posting more information soon, but for now, just know that if you’ve been planning on visiting Windsor, you should try to keep your calendars open in July.

And, hope to see you SUNDAY, February 28th – 1pm at 362 California!