Greensboro smart “Big Bang” event & Play Array Process
Urban Matter Inc. in partnership with 3×3 Design were selected as one of the finalists for the Development of a Downtown Artscape Vision Plan for Greensboro SmART Initiative. 3×3 is a design and planning consultancy that builds collaborative platforms that link public and private entities to make cities more livable. Since the larger Greensboro Downtown Master Streetscape Plan was a bit delayed, it also delayed the SmART Phase II funding for 2015, because of which Arts Greensboro decided to go a slightly different direction to keep the momentum on the project going. On December 12, Urban Matter Inc., along with 3×3 Design, were among three public art teams selected to participate in the Greensboro smart “Big Bang” event in Greensboro, North Carolina. The workshop and panel discussion invited teams to share insights on how to use placemaking strategies – such as way-finding and public art – to enhance the cohesiveness, character, and sense of community in downtown Greensboro. The teams were asked to envision what could be done with a budget of $25,000 to transform Elm Street, the towns main corridor. Some key insights from the event:
- Governance: Small to medium-sized cities that don’t prioritize public arts projects could benefit from institutionalizing Public Arts Teams to assist in decision making and production for a more streamlined approach.
- Lean Urbanism: Smaller projects that result in quick wins can be more effective in gaining momentum and garnering support for arts-based public realm improvements.
- Asset-Based Placemaking: Harnessing Greensboro’s vibrant arts scene can not only help to stimulate local activities and culture but can also result in more authentic programming that reinforces character and builds community.
- Multi-tiered Approaches: The teams present at the event represented a diversity of approaches ranging from neighborhood-scale strategies to site-specific activations, demonstrating the importance of developing strategies that address all scales for enhanced cohesion.
In other news, we’ve been working nonstop to complete our project ‘Play Array’ for the Canal Convergence event in Scottsdale, Arizona. We received our first full pixel prototype sample last week, and tested it in the not so clean East River close to our studio in Dumbo. We’ve also been working tirelessly towards completing all the electronics for the project and have installed the pong game in the studio and its been a source of fun and excitement for us and visitors alike (see video at the bottom of the post). Play Array will be installed as a part of the Canal Convergence Festival starting Feb 26th.