Planning + Art(ists) – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 3

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Heather Alhadeff and Allison Bustin from Center Forward. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Where is the work that you do most applicable in the planning process? Could it be incorporated in multiple steps?
  • Could you see yourself doing this kind of work? Why or why not? What kinds of projects WOULD you like to work on, regardless of whether they are “planning” related?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

Angela 2
Angela Davis Johnson in a recent performance of “Between the Created and the Is: Procession with Ancestors” at Downtown Players Club

Artists are connectors. Typically through my work I strive to find ways to bridge seemingly disparate people and places in order to create unity and I think this mind-set can be a valuable tool in planning. For a few years I worked as a librarian, where much of my focus was on public service and programming and that experience greatly influenced my art practice. Armed with these skills, I see my art approach as a way to bring fresh and innovating ideas to connect communities in the decision making process. I believe my talents would be best suited in the planning process during the initial stages such as visioning, data collection, and assessment of conditions but in particular, community engagement. There are so many approaches in creating a way to make community meetings more accessible to the neighborhood residents; pop up shows to potlucks. During the session a wonderful idea of having neighborhood curator design creative spaces to gather would be an exciting way in engaging the community.

by Angela Davis Johnson

This summer I was in Boston seeing family. For the first time in three years, I felt nostalgic for my home in Atlanta, because I realized as I walked around Cambridge and Boston, there was hardly any street art. I found myself saying to friends, “In Atlanta, there would be a mural on this building,” several times as we were walking in Central Square, the hip and diverse neighborhood that connects Harvard and MIT.

I’ve gotten used to living in a city where the burgeoning arts scene has made such an impact that I feel its absence when traveling to cities without one. While Boston is a great progressive city with amazing culture, it made me happy to claim Atlanta as having something Boston didn’t: a colorful public realm.

Lauren Pallotta signs her mural "New Heights", located along the Wylie Street Corridor in Cabbagetown.
Lauren Pallotta signs her mural “New Heights”, located along the Wylie Street Corridor in Cabbagetown.

As Atlanta continues to bolster its placemaking prowess, we can be motivated by Heather’s slide that was headlined “People are DESPERATE for fun.” With the momentum we’ve gained through our city mural projects and programs like Elevate, it is the right time to be an artist in Atlanta who can get involved with sustained projects that boost revitalization in a mindful, engaging, colorful way.

Personally I think it’s important for an artist to be present and involved in all six stages of planning –Visioning, Data Collection, Assessment of Conditions, Recommendations, Public and Client Approval, and Implementation–so that the end product is a proper summation of its parts.

As a Creative Consultant, an artist can be an effective bridge between the planning group and the beneficiaries of said planning. An artist can offer fresh perspective and ideas to get more people engaged in their neighborhood meetings, the participatory process of planning. As we’ve learned in other sessions, an artist is a conduit through which a neighborhood’s ideas and voices is channeled, deconstructed and reconstructed into a vibrant and FUN public space.

I would love to be involved in urban planning. I feel as though it is a place where my creative and professional assets– cultural competence, painting, illustration, graphic design, education, non-profit management, strategic planning, outreach– intersect.

by Lauren Pallotta


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