The gods were with us this morning—again!—as we pasted the last six photographs on the buildings on Langdon Street. What an amazing process this whole project has been, both the photographs that are the installation Rob Spring and I have contributed and the larger project of bringing art and a human scale to this beautiful little street that we have over the years inadvertently sacrificed to “The Automobile.”
The background: my friend Ward Joyce, a local architect and tactical urbanist, challenged a group of a dozen folks to energize Langdon Street with art to bring more people out to enjoy and support the magic of this special urban space. While we are working closely with our city officials, we are simply a group of citizens who want to make a difference.
We hope our work will continue to add up, helping to give our town—the smallest of state capitols—a more human scale. After several months of planning and fund-raising, the changes we’ve dreamed of are becoming visible.
The past several days the street has been a busy place. in addition to ours, six other art projects have been installed including a large painting and a large triptych photograph, a sculpture and a sculptured seating area, an amazing wall stencil and a floral bridge. More will be installed in the next week.
The transformation has already begun of finding a new balance between cars and people. Thankfully cars move slowly on this short street because over the past few days more and more people are simply standing in the middle of the street gawking! Others are engaged in prolonged and somewhat oblivious conversation. Spontaneous bits of art are also erupting including some wonderful chalk art on the sidewalk today from a group of high school students.
People in the photographs are also discovering themselves and their friends on the walls. Until this week no one knew who’d be on the walls. I delighted to see a father and his son walk by and hear the child say “Dad, look! There we are.”
Long term some of us hope to completely convert the street to a pedestrian way but until then we’ll enjoy a new appreciation of the space and the ways in which we can enjoy the street. What an amazing and fulfilling week it has been—high, literally, on Langdon Street ALIVE!
Come on down, stroll the street and enjoy the art and the people. Stay tuned for news about a “grand opening” and for details of how you can purchase prints of the photographs we’ve made.
very very cool, John. We humans must stand up for our human scale. Let’s bring it all back home, back down to our size, where we can saunter slowly through streets filled with human faces and sounds. I’ll be playing music in the streets of Detroit next Tuesday, Solstice. Major cities around the world are all participating in a Makemusic Day event. Should be fun. To the streets! t
Thanks, Theo. I’ll see if we can’t roust some musicians out onto the street next week! Wish you could be here—come ANY time!
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Fabulous, fascinating, fun!!!