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    Posted December 5, 2009 by
    carolhummel
    Location
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Street art in your community

    More from carolhummel

    Knitscape Cedar Lee and Knitscape Larchmere

     
    This summer I was artist in residence at Heights Arts in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  When I was planning my project, times were tough and the future wasn’t looking so bright in northeastern Ohio. But, we reasoned, what better time to invigorate a neighborhood with art.  Thus, Knitscapes were born.  The purpose of thes projects is: • To demonstrate how art can visually unify the streetscape • To create a community around an art project and • To enliven daily life with unexpected art.  And after working in the neighborhoods on the street for more than two months, I can say with no reservations that the Knitscapes met and far exceeded these goals. With the help of numerous community volunteers, we crocheted cozies for nearly 200 parking meters, 15 light poles, and 5 trees in Cleveland Heights and 44 trees in Larchmere. We used approximately 167,000 feet of macrame cord and spent around 1,300 hours on the projects. There is no doubt that we have energized these areas through art!  Of utmost importance to me, however, are the hundreds of connections I and my fellow volunteers have formed with the people in these neighborhoods while working in the parking lots and streets for six weeks. I have been honored to be the recipient of a continuous flow of kindness, curiosity, humor, appreciation and joy from strangers. Every day was a delight thanks to community interaction. Of course, for me as the artist, the projects also have conceptual underpinnings; it’s still about comfort vs. confinement. On Lee Road, while it’s still true that we’re confined by the societal rules and regulations of parking meters, at least in this community we’re making that constraint the most comfortable possible. On Larchmere, the trees are cozily confined in their colorful coverings. With Knitscapes in place, parking in Cleveland Heights, walking down Lee Road or Larchmere Blvd, or living and working in these communities will swing away from confinement and toward comfort… our comfort. As one passerby told me, the energy has shifted in these neighborhoods. “The projects have changed the entire energy in our neighborhoods; people are so much happier when they walk down our streets. Everyone is smiling.” People that had never even heard of public art not only helped create it but are now experiencing it, living in it.  --Carol Hummel www.carolhummel.com

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