by Kirby Lindsay, posted 20 August 2012
Over the final two weeks of August, the scaffolding will, with volunteer help, get set in place, cones get spread around to mark areas of wet paint, and the scrub brushes will be broken out at the SPACE art installation. Expect to find Jessica Randall and, hopefully, a full complement of volunteers doing repairs and restoration as the summer winds to an end.
Randall led the original effort to install the art on the oversized curb bulb of the Space Building development at 600 N 36th Street. “I was project manager,” she explained, not the artist, as some occasionally credit her, although, “I was one of the designers too.”
She has taken on the repairs – and the raising money and volunteers. “I’m doing it more as the project manager,” she said, “that’s the job I signed on for. I made an agreement with the City to maintain it,” Randall explained.
Randall has taken responsibility for every step of the SPACE installation, which came into being only because of her persistence (read that story in the North Seattle Herald-Outlook column from August 2006.) Since its installation, Randall returned twice to repaint the concrete sidewalks. Also, “I purposefully drive by and see how it’s going,” she admitted.
Randall works in Fremont, with an office here where she practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and teaches meditation. However, she also works, and lives, in Port Townsend, so she often goes out of her way to check up on how the piece fares.
To clean up the SPACE installation, Randall will once again organize materials and volunteers. She also applied for money for maintenance from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the Fremont Arts Council, but neither organization gave her as much as she had budgeted. “I’d like to have an assistant,” for the maintenance work she has planned, “so I have someone with me the whole time I’m here. At least one person I can rely on.”
She still hopes to find a volunteer assistant, but she did find, “two people have stepped up to help with the electrical,” she explained. Also, for the original installation she overbought on some materials so has some available for some repairs.
“The benches are doing great,” Randall reported, “they just need to be scrubbed.” One of the lights designed and built by Kim David Hall needs to be reinstalled, and “we may repaint the poles black,” she said about the structures that suspend Hall’s lights and three planets over the sidewalk.
The two big chores may be repainting of the sidewalk – and Randall will try another kind of coloring to try to find something that endures – and refurbishing the ‘blue planet.’ Randall originally designed the blue globe with a surprise inside, but it cannot be seen like she’d originally envisioned so she plans to work on it over the next two weeks and try to correct the problem.
The SPACE installation came through a collaborative effort, with the designs they incorporated sometimes coming from specific artists and sometimes from the committee of the whole. “Kim Hall made those lights,” Randall reported “but the decision to do them was the group.”
Looking back, Randall laments the ideas that, “went floating down the river,” when those who proposed them didn’t act. “The people who showed up were the people who did something,” she recalled. She also recalled a rule of the workshop – and planning sessions – “you are not allowed to give advice,” she remembered, “unless you have a tool in your hand,” and were actively at work creating something.
Randall once again needs collaboration from those willing to show up and do, and get the SPACE installation refurbished. She will also need donations, to fill out the funds currently missing for equipment rental.
For An On-Going Problem
Randall initiated maintenance of the SPACE installation, including finding (some of) the funds. Yet, some other public art pieces around Fremont actually are in more desperate need of repair. When asked, Randall acknowledged that the lack of funds for repairs can be the biggest deterrent to getting anything done, and she sees that as the responsibility of the City of Seattle rather than the Fremont business/arts communities.
“The City should consider budgeting,” for maintenance, she said, considering the attention and attractive qualities public art provides. “The public art draws in people,” she pointed out. As for repairs and restoration, she said, “you can’t expect the artist to pay for it.”
“Artists are used to the fact that when you finish a piece, it’s out of your hands,” Randall said. While willing to spruce up the SPACE, she is also willing to accept that it may be removed or replaced someday – when funds dry up altogether for repairing it. “Things last as long as they last,” Randall explained, when asked how long she expects the SPACE installation to endure, “as long as people want it there. It’s not necessarily eternal. Anything painted, fades. Concrete erodes. If you want to repair it, great! When it looks bad, remove it.”
To show support for the SPACE installation, and help with its a face-lift, volunteer now! “I do need volunteers,” Randall asked, “if someone has skills that would be awesome. If they can scrub with a brush on the benches, that would be great, or work on the landscaping, that would be fine too.”
Volunteer by contacting Randall at 360/301-2376 or email@example.com Or, step up and offer a hand when you see the cones, the scaffolding, or the paint brushes out – and the woman at hard work. Volunteers will be needed Thursday – Saturday, August 22nd – August 25th and August 29th – September 1st.
- Bringing SPACE To Fremont
- by Kirby Lindsay, August 24, 2006 in the North Seattle Herald-Outlook
- Fremont Public Art Inventory: Evanston Part III of an on-going series
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 21, 2011
- FCC Highlight Reel: Distributions, Dates And Yet More Wiffle Ball
- by Kirby Lindsay, August 1, 2012
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.