The Fremocentrist.com Art Inventory

Prince II Tribute Coming To A Park(ing) Day Near Us

by Kirby Lindsay Laney, posted 11 September 2017

 

Seattle Park(ing) Day on September 15th allows everyone to engage

Seattle Park(ing) Day on September 15th allows everyone to engage

On Friday, September 15th, approximately 50 locations around Seattle – and one in Fremont – will see areas generally used for street parking transformed with art, furniture, landscaping and/or other accoutrements creating engaging, inspiring, entertaining and/or informative parks.  This is Seattle Park(ing) Day, a one-day, annual event encouraging imaginative and creative use of public street spaces.

A program of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT,) Seattle Park(ing) Day supports an international effort to get citizens out, to be more creative about public parking areas.  On September 15th, world-wide, people will transform these precious pieces of public real estate into play and display space.

“I think Park(ing) Day is a unique opportunity,” Fremont resident Caroline Sayre said, “to declare that streets are public space that can be used in different ways.”  It reminds her of the days when, as a kid, “we played on the street all the time.”  The street can be used as a public extension of the backyard, where kids play, adults gather, and community gets built.

In Tribute To An Artist Of Integrity

Caroline Sayer, with her Prince mug purchased at Fremont Sunday Market, stands at the site of her Seattle Park(ing) Day installation for September 15th, 2017.  Photo by K. Lindsay Laney, Aug '17

Caroline Sayer, with her Prince mug purchased at Fremont Sunday Market, stands at the site of her Seattle Park(ing) Day installation for September 15th, 2017. Photo by K. Lindsay Laney, Aug ’17

“We get about 50 installations each year,” with Downtown Seattle getting the highest concentration, according to Brian Henry.  Henry is a Program Development Supervisor in Public Space Management for the Seattle Department of Transportation.  He works in the Street Use division, where they manage the ways our public streets can be used and, he explained, “activate the streets.”  Street Use programs include Play Streets, Stre-eatery/Parklet, and Seattle Park(ing) Day.

The SDOT Park(ing) Day program is open to everyone, yet Henry acknowledged that they see more installations in commercial areas – businesses expanding their street front, and non-profits engaging a wider base. “This year we did more outreach outside of Downtown,” Henry explained, “we want to reach more people who haven’t done this before.”  Some people, and groups, create only once, and others, like Sayre, return.

On September 15th, Sayre will create the only Park(ing) Day installation in Fremont this year – giving her another chance to honor her favorite inspiration.  For the second year, Sayre will create a Prince Tribute Park on a section of 1st Ave NW, between N 41st & N 42nd Streets.

“I’m going to spray chalk the street with the Prince symbol,” Sayre described, “and bring out the stereo system.”  While Seattle Park(ing) Day goes from 9a – 7p, Sayre has chosen just an afternoon installation, beginning at 3p.  At 5p, Veronica Mendonca of VAM Studios in Fremont will give dance lessons.  At 7p, the public part of the park will shut down and Sayre will screen the film ‘Purple Rain’ in her garage, by invitation only, due to copyright restrictions.

“We got rained out last year,” Sayre observed, “so we brought it into the garage,” and she’s got the same contingency plan for this year, just in case.  “Last year we had 35 people come,” Sayre recalled, many of them neighbors but also a few who came after consulting the on-line map created by SDOT.  Sayre welcomes everyone, to check out her creative use of the street – and share her tribute to the late, great artist.

In 2013, Theo Chocolate created a Seattle Park(ing) Day site.  Photo provided by SDOT

In 2013, Theo Chocolate created a Seattle Park(ing) Day site. Photo provided by SDOT

“I’m a Prince fan,” Sayre admitted.  “He was a very playful musician,” Sayre observed, “his music was very personal, but he made light of it all.”  She has discovered that fan-dom comes in different forms – while she only attended two Prince concerts, “I’ve met people who’ve gone to 100s!”  Sayre has decorated her car, purchased tribute items, and hung memorabilia in her home.  “It’s been a great loss,” she observed about the artist’s tragic and abrupt passing, “and I live with it in my own way.”  The park installation is another way she can honor his memory and the integrity he brought to his art, and find comfort with others.

A Community Collaboration

A big appeal to participating in Park(ing) Day, for Sayre, is that, “I get to think about Prince a lot.”  However, she also finds other elements of the SDOT program attractive.  “I had the opportunity to meet people,” she explained, “I love the idea of partnering with other people.”  For this year’s installation, Sayre stepped outside her already large circle of acquaintances and made more.  She walked into VAM, and asked about help with the dancing – and Mendonca volunteered.  At the Fremont Branch Library, Sayre found assistance researching copyright law regarding showing the film.  Along the way, Sayre has made sure to invite everyone she met to come enjoy this collaborative Park(ing) Day installation – including everyone reading this column.

Park(ing) Day installations can get quite creative!  Photo provided by SDOT, from 2015

Park(ing) Day installations can get quite creative! Photo provided by SDOT, from 2015

One Park(ing) Day requirement is to create an interactive installation.  “We’re charged with engaging with people,” Sayre said.  She hopes it goes beyond that, “It’s creating a memory.”  Sayre sees Park(ing) Day as an opportunity to step outside the norm and engage.

“We are accepting all applications,” Henry observed, and applying is free.  They don’t turn down anyone interested in creating an installation.  “We want people to be creative,” Henry said,  “We do as much as we can to make this accessible.  SDOT manages the street right-of-way, so we have to manage the applications, but we will accept anything within the guidelines.”

Henry acknowledged that Sayre’s decision to create a Park(ing) Day installation in a residential area is outside the norm.  “I think people like doing them in commercial areas,” he acknowledged, where “there are more people, and get more attention.”  Yet, there are benefits to creating an installation near home – it’s easier to get neighbors involved, and find materials when you need them, like Sayre’s stereo equipment.

Sayre knows her community (she and her husband are very involved in several civic projects,) but she will still fulfill the SDOT requirement to directly inform her immediate neighbors of her plans, using materials SDOT provided.  Sayre plans to use the parking space near her home, where she often parks, but in case her park impacts her neighbors, she wants to let them know of her plans.  “It’s not my intent to block traffic,” she explained.

“We don’t get many complaints,” Henry said about the use of street parking for a park, or art, installation.  “We ask people to reach out to their neighbors,” and make sure they know about September 15th.  Additionally, Sayre will stop by the SDOT Ravenna office, on the morning of Park(ing) Day, to pick up official cones and boards that will mark her space.

In 2013, local artist Ryan 'Henry' Ward participated in an art studio Park(ing) Day installation.  Photo provided by SDOT

In 2013, local artist Ryan ‘Henry’ Ward participated in an art studio Park(ing) Day installation. Photo provided by SDOT

‘As Easy As Coming Up With An Idea’

“It’s a nice way to celebrate something,” Sayre observed about Park(ing) Day, “to be creative, and to take back the street.  It’s great to be doing something different with the street.”

“It’s really a blank slate,” Henry said of what can be done, “Participation really is as easy as coming up with an idea.  We’re really open to the creativity,” Henry explained about SDOT’s requirements, “you can’t sell and you can’t advertise.”  Yet, he observed, “There are a really wide range of activities you can do.  A landscape architect might create a park, a business can try out expanding their sidewalk presence, they can give out information, or build a kid play area.”  In Fremont, we’ve had Literacy Source build a reading room, and Theo Chocolate create an adult play area.

“I think they should do it more often,” Sayre said of Seattle Park(ing) Day.  “This is one of the easiest things we can do to engage,” Henry said.

The City invites everyone to visit DON park installations on Sep 15th, 2017.

The City invites everyone to visit DON park installations on Sep 15th, 2017.

In addition to Sayre’s Prince Park, stop by 11 Park(ing) Day installations – including one in Wallingford – created by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON.)  On September 15th, DON will host 11 parklets (in 10 different neighborhoods) that will have staffers and resources available on how to tap into other city programs.

See you out at the parks on Seattle Park(ing) Day, September 15th!

 

 


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©2017 Kirby Laney.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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