At the Walk/Bike/Places Conference this year in New Orleans, I met many great people and saw many presentations, one in particular that resonates with my personal view and Youtovia’s vision, is the creative collaboration work presented by Summer Jawson, from Seattle Department of Transportation and Marcia Iwasaki from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Seattle, a seaport city on the west coast of the United States, with an estimated 725,000 residents as of 2018, has a developed process and an opened mindset to working with artists in the public space. The city initiates grants for temporary art works to be installed for a half a year or a year in the public space and even offers an artists bootcamp to learn how. They are aware of the positive affects art and creativity has on our every day journey. Summer titled it “Planned Serendipity”, transforming everyday objects and ordinary places to places of surprise, and elements that make you smile, think and move!
Planned Serendipity - “Interrupting life and building a community through art”
Creating a sense of belonging to a place consists also of allowing and encouraging creativity and free expression, still with boundaries and regulations, but giving the option for community activists, entrepreneurs and artists to claim their space in the public realm. Most artists work with the community to create the elements and others receive inspiration from observation and information shared by residents.
It is always exciting for me to witness a well balanced connection between art and the city, it does not have to be only about mural paintings, and it does not have to be illegal, it can be ordered and encouraged, because collaborations and working with, instead of against, will always benefit the greater good.