Now that wool peacoats are becoming more common on the streets of Hartford, we decided to look back on one of the final days of summer 2015, PARK(ing) Day. On September 18th the streets of downtown Hartford radiated with energy in celebration of PARK(ing) Day, an international movement to call attention to the need for more open space in urban areas by converting metered parking spaces into miniature parks.
This year marked the third year of PARK(ing) Day in Hartford with thirteen parking space reclaimed as temporary public art installments that engaged hundreds of passersby along Main Street, Trumbull Street and their tributaries; each park with its own unique design. Our friends at KNOX laid sod in each space and local artists were selected to reimagine downtown Hartford with their own mini-park.
For one day, downtown Hartford had a bike share, the world’s smallest improv theater, a beach of rainbow sand, an arch of paper flowers and an open air bluegrass jam session. One day to inspire a conversation about open space in our built environment. Public art made that conversation possible.
“[PARK(ing) Day] made em think that events like this make downtown seem more liveable and vibrant. This felt like an event you’d encounter in a bigger city,” said one PARK(ing) Day enthusiast who zipped around to over seven of the thirteen parks in order to complete their PARK(ing) Day Passbook. The prize for visiting multiple parks: a florescent green PARK(ing) Day Frisbee to take into Hartford’s many parks and enjoy the open space we do have in the city.
Special thanks to our collaborators: Civic Mind Studios, Hartford Business Improvement District, KNOX, the City of Hartford, Connecticut’s Old State House, and the iQuilt Plan. Thanks to the Hartford Parking Authority and the Hartford Police Department for working with us on this opportunity to bring art to downtown.
Shout out to our PARK(ing) Day artists who participated: Amy LaBossiere, Anita Balkun, Constanza Gowen Segovia with Josh Michtom, Julia Pistell with Sea Tea Improv, Justin O’Brien, Karin Bedoya, Lindsey Fyfe, Louisa Barton Duguay, Naomi Nevo Ben Ari, Nina Salazar and Rory Gale with Hartford Prints! and Community Solutions.
Local photographer, Justin O’Brien, designed the PARK(ing) Day Photo Spot. Check out the pictures from his photo park here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/justinobrien/albums/72157656473798544