Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Art and branding on Central Avenue

As mentioned earlier, the Arts and Science Council has a call to visual artists for public art on Central Avenue near the Merry Oaks neighborhood. It specifically asks for art to help brand the area as an international corridor and is seeking murals for the area, encouraging entries from Latino or Asian artists.

Neighborhood advocate Nancy Pierce has been asked to serve on the review/selection committee, which meets Nov. 10. Before that meeting, she's seeking ideas and answers to some key questions. From her note to the neighborhood Google group:

&ldquo While I support public art, I am concerned that some art, in time, just adds to visual clutter. I am also unconvinced that we should welcome certain branding unless we first decide exactly how we want to be branded, in consultation with adjacent neighborhoods. In fact, there is no formal city initiative to brand Central as the International Corridor. Do we want this?

&ldquo What about the &lsquo green’ branding some of us have discussed, building on the greenway, bridge art, ped/bike/transit focus of Merry Oaks? Could public art work support that?”


Merry Oaks has a developing greenway along Briar Creek, and over the years it has attracted people interested in bikes and short commutes as well as a diverse group of artists among its residents. Nearby neighborhoods have similar personalities and a stake in the discussions as well. I suspect most people in the area are very proud of our diverse businesses and population.

Are they separate brands? Can both internationalism and a &ldquo green” brand be sustained?

This particular call for artists is Part II of a project. Part I involved a team of young professionals with the Knight Creative Communities Initiative, who commissioned ceramic artist Amy Sanders for a residency at Garinger High School challenging students to explore visual imagery appropriate to the international flavor of Central Avenue, according to the Arts and Science Council. Sanders created ceramic designs for trash receptacles.

For ideas on Part II, visit the Merry Oaks Google group to let Nancy know what you think, or leave a comment here.

Some background:
Carlos Herrera Burgos received a grant earlier for a mural as part of the international corridor idea, but had difficulties finding a place to display the work. It appears that the art was part of the Central Krawl in June at Pura Vida; I'm not sure where it is now.

Chapel Hill has some excellent murals, but the town is more condensed than Central Avenue, with alleys and tall brick walls. They're working on freshening them up and preserving them.

1 comment:

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