10-10-08

Thoughts on Bridge Mix

“If there’s good weather, and there will be, there’s going to be a lot going on. There’s going to be live music, there will be capoeira dancers, some folks from the Natural History Museum are going to come out with telescopes. Apparently Jupiter will be visible that night. If not a full moon, we’ll be close to one.

And then the artists are going to transform the bridge itself. The bridge is a little bit scary, but it’s an important piece of connective infrastructure in the city. The northern part of Tremont where Lincoln Park, and the galleries, and the restaurants are has really experienced a lot of investment and energy. The southern part has a dog park, it has Clark Fields, and it’s a place where there is burgeoning energy. So the bridge is just this important link, and if people are scared to go across it, it harms the neighborhood.

For the night, the bridge isn’t going to be scary. For the night, the bridge is going to be welcoming, comfortable, exciting, beautiful.

So the bridge will be lit (by Gauri Torgalkar). Alex Tapie and Wes Johansen are going to install a living room on the bridge itself to kind of promote this idea that this is a community space. It may be kind of an odd, scary sort of community space over a freeway, but for that night, it will be beautiful and comfortable and fun.

And then at the northern end, Patsy Kline is going to set up a mobile art gallery out of a U-Haul, where she’s doing a work about being present and not being present in your life. So she will have interviews and video installations and connections to the other side of the bridge, that you can experience from the north side.

Also on the north side we’ve got Gypsy Bean, my very favorite café. Nicky is coming out for the night with coffee and sweats. So there will be food for sale from them.

On the southern side of the bridge is a stage, and that’s where there’ll be the dancers from the capoeira school in Tremont, and they’ll be doing a performance. The band is Miss Melvis and the Buford Pusser Experience and they’ll be really good. I’ve heard them perform and they’re really good. They’re loud and they’re fun and it’s a really good band.

Eric Hooper wants to do a greenhouse raising that night. He has a farm at the southern end. Kind of like a farm raising, but a greenhouse raising, to celebrate the fact that agriculture is flourishing in the city. Eric’s been there since, I think 1999, so he has an established farm in the city.

Other than that, it’s just people and fun, and on a nice night, it’s a beautiful place to be.”
- CUDC Senior Planner Terry Schwarz

And the weather forecast says that it will be a gorgeous night, so go experience it for yourself!

by marianne eppig.

10-10-08

Go To This Pop-Up Event on Friday, October 10th!!!!

Bridge Mix
“a nite under the stars and over the headlights”

A Pop up City Event

LOCATION: Tremont Pedestrian Bridge; dead end of West 11th Street, south of Starkweather; dead end at west 11th, south of pedestrian bridge.

DATE: October 10, 2008

TIME: 6 – 10 p.m.

POP UP CITY: Pop Up City is a series of temporary events in Cleveland’s vacant and underutilized places that is supported by the Cleveland Foundation’s Civic Innovation Lab and operated through Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

EVENT DESCRIPTION: The Tremont pedestrian bridge is a transition from the more developed Tremont on the North side into the older and more rustic Tremont to the south. This naturally suggests the theme of development and also coincides with Pop up City’s goals. With impending plans for studies to draw attention to linkage and connectivity of the bridge, we found this to be an intriguing spot. This allows pedestrians and motorists to experience this space very differently for the first time, and draw attention to this generationally new connection, spawned by infrastructure development and expansion.

Planned events and exhibits include the following:

NORTH END.
• Gallery U-Haul – Art exhibition in U-Haul truck
• Coffee Stand with non-alcoholic beverages and food by Gypsy Beans and Baking Co..

PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
• Makeshift living room in center span of bridge with egress at either end from middle at all times.
• Colored glass prisms and wind chimes tied securely to bridge.
• Lighting of approaches to bridge span on either side.

SOUTH END
• Use of space adjacent to Hooper Farm. Hooper Farm sell produce.
• Performance space with cultural dances, music, storytellers and Capoeira.

by marianne eppig.

10-10-08

Artists’ Ideas for the Bridge Mix Pop-Up Event

This pop-up event on October 10th is going to be top notch. I went to the space where the Pop-Up event will take place (the Tremont pedestrian bridge and the surrounding area) and met with Terry Schwarz (Head Honcho of the CUDC) and some of the artists who are designing the event. As we looked at the space for the first time, here are some of the ideas that people tossed around:

South End
- The south end of the bridge is right next to a beautiful, rustic small farm (Hooper’s Farm), where people can buy local produce during the event.
- A trail leads away from the edge of the bridge into the woods, creating a transition from stark urbanity to nature.
- By the farm will also be a performance space with cultural dancing, music, storytellers and Capoeira. Terry was thinking of using some of the chopped logs in the area as seating, bringing together the urban and the natural aspects of the space.

Bridge
- The narrow, slightly slanted bridge vibrates from pedestrian steps and perhaps even from the cars and trucks buzzing below on the highway. The vibrations can be slightly frightening, especially for those who become nervous around heights, so to make the space more comfortable, artists have planned to build a cozy living room in the middle of the bridge.
- Designers hope that increasing the comfort level in the bridge will encourage people to transition between spaces, manifesting the connectivity that the bridge represents.
- The sound of the cars beneath the bridge, the lights, the edgy design, and the music coming from the event will produce quite the visceral experience for anyone who attends.

North End
- The north end will have quite a different style from the south end, not only because the surroundings have a more developed, suburban look.
- There will be a U-Haul that contains an art exhibition.
- Gypsy Beans and Baking Co. will have a coffee stand with food and non-alcoholic beverages!

Although this list is puzzlingly similar to the general write-up of the event, the point of it was to give you some insight into what the artists and designers were thinking when they first went to the space. Go to the event and see for yourself what it’s all about!

by marianne eppig.

10-09-08

LOVE YOUR PLACE

I just moved back to Cleveland, my hometown, after graduating from college in New Hampshire, and one thing kept me from moving off to New York, Boston, or Chicago to join so many of my peers: the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Although I loved growing up under the shade of the giant oak trees in Shaker Heights—where I walked the block to and from lower and middle school—I convinced myself while I was away in New Hampshire that the only place to live and work after graduation was some other city… any other city.

Why was this? Many of us Clevelanders have come to terms with the fact that Cleveland is indeed a shrinking city. Young people need jobs, and they want to be around other young people. I was lucky enough to find work in Cleveland, but many of my peers have not been so lucky.

So Cleveland needs to work on Sustainability. Sustaining the younger generations so that we have a growing (and constantly improving) workforce. Sustaining the economy with jobs – jobs that could be created through up and coming Green enterprises (plug for the wind turbines on the lake, among many other ideas to make Cleveland the Green City on the Blue Lake). Sustaining the environment by redeveloping in our city instead of continually sprawling.

While rooting for Cleveland is a lot like rooting for the Browns, many of us will never give up hope. There are so many people in this town that are dreaming, striving, and toiling to make Cleveland the Great City that it is and will become. The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative is chock-full of people like this. They’re constantly concocting new and exciting ideas and then turning them into realities.

The CUDC is a Community of Practice. Their work has transformed many areas of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs through redesign and redevelopment. The people at the Urban Design Center inspired me to re-imagine the way I thought about Cleveland and what I hoped for its future.

The CUDC taught me to once again “Love My Place” and to work towards making it the Perfect City for both myself and for many others.

by marianne eppig.