Exit133 is about Tacoma
Imagine Tacoma – Art Squats
With this Thursday being ‘The Last Art Walk of Summer,’ and continuing with a theme of ‘temporary use’ of vacant property within the urban center, Imagine Tacoma considers the application of a storefront art program to fill the plethora of vacant storefronts Downtown:
Pedestrian Oriented Streetscape
Assuming you have painted the pedestrian crosswalks, fixed the sidewalks, and organize the street trees/furniture so they augment, rather than impede, the use of the public right-of-way walking surface, what is there to engage the lowly pedestrian? Vacant storefronts with ‘Available’ or ‘For Lease’ signs? Why not fill them up temporarily with works of art? In essence, go vertical with the Frost Park Sidewalk Chalk Art! Other options could be installation of photos and/or super graphics about Tacoma’s history. Or maybe a community presentation storefront for the display of publicly funded projects that are currently in the pipeline (e.g. design plans for Urban Waters)? Large Wayfinding Signs?
Many, many, many cities have developed similar programs to fill their storefronts with art on a temporary basis. Check out Redwood City, San Diego, and Santa Cruz (pdf) for just a sampling. Gosh Opie, even Sound Transit has gotten into the act on Broadway (ah that would be Seattle’s Broadway of course). With a set format for the storefront leasing agents, and publicity of the program, there could be more interested parties looking into the empty spaces than ever imagined with the current signage status quo.
So instead of storefronts sitting idle and vacant for prolonged periods of time, how about encouraging temporary art installations to ‘squat’ in the windows to at least give something for us downtown occupiers to ruminate about when we out and about between our pedestrian destinations.
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