Written by Jen Peters
Our team, consisting of Shaddai Crosby, Jennifer Peters, Alex Staley, Christina Wolfe, created artwork for the 19th Street Corridor, which is the zone of 19th street that stretches from Buffalo Road to Raspberry Street. Through the Creating with Community initiative, as a team of artists we were tasked with helping implement recommendations from the Active Erie multi-modal transportation plan.
Our project consists of four visual works of art that serve as wayfinding markers for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike. We are now working with businesses along the 19th Street Corridor to confirm installation sites. We have identified several businesses who have agreed to serve as host sites for the artwork and we are now confirming details and dates for installation.
The artwork is two-dimensional large-scale layered relief sculptures. We constructed for pieces that are intended to be viewed as a series. Each sculpture consists of a large painting on polytab, inspired by Alex's digital art, and adhered to a rigid and durable surface. A photograph of a community member, which was captured by Shaddai, was then printed on vinyl by FastSigns and adhered to the surface. Additional embellishments were painted to add another layer of depth to each piece. All pieces are coated with a weatherproof varnish.
Our team engaged neighbors in a number of formal and informal ways. Last spring, after walking 19th Street on several occasions, we hosted two art-making events for children and families. These events gave us a chance to set up and spend some time in the neighborhood - speaking with neighbors, engaging in acts of creativity, and sharing snacks. We hosted one near Ruby Schaaf Park on West 19th Street and another near Spoons Park on East 19th Street.
To understand some of the neighborhood initiatives, we attended meetings with Heather Casper of SSJNN and Patrick Fisher of EAC. We also received support from artist Tom Ferraro of the Looking Glass Art Project. Shaddai, Christina, and Jen, along with her sons, met with Margarita Dangel of SSJNN at the shop of their bike program to tour the facility and receive feedback on our preliminary designs. We later circled back with her to get additional advice on possible businesses to engage as sites for installation.
The summer Farmer's Market put on by SSJNN also served us in engaging the community on multiple occasions. Jen met with Eric Brozell of Bike Erie and Alison Stinely of SSJNN for informal feedback on the project and to discuss possible youth volunteer support. Shaddai and Christina met with community members for informal discussions and to speak with neighbors. This also served as an opportunity to take photographs of community members.
It is our hope that the four installations of “Moving Forward” with it’s recognizable photographs, symbols, and text will allow travelers on the 19th Street Corridor to pause and consider multi-modal safety.