Finding Community–Summer in the Lake City MiniPark

Activating Public Spaces

Part 1 Summer 2017 in the Lake City MiniPark

What attracts people most, it would appear, is other people.” —William H, Whyte, from The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

Hidden in plain sight, the MiniPark is the heart of the Lake City Urban Core. You either love it, or hate it. Okay, you probably hate it. Maybe you’ve called it Porta-Potty Park because of its landmark feature. It collects trash and dirt and reminds us all men are created equal, but that it doesn’t always work out that way. Yet it is prime public space in the Lake City Neighborhood. Can we reframe how we think about this corner lot and invest it with purpose?

In Summer 2017, Lake City Future First (LCFF) hosted 10 free weekly concerts in the MiniPark with some of Seattle’s finest musicians and performers including Gansango, the Lance Lu Quartet and Skolkis. This is the second year of high quality programming through the “Put the Arts in Parks” grant from the Office of Arts and Culture and Seattle Parks Department.

LCFF launched an ambitious effort to activate our public spaces in 2016. Over two summers, LCFF, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Lake City Branch Library have hosted over 48 free multi-cultural art performances in Lake City. This summer we saw families with strollers, jazz buffs with lawn chairs, neighbors coming for a concert and dinner, commuters getting off the bus and visitors driving through from Alaska all stop and wile an hour in the Park.

Public park plazas are the gems of urban environments. They may be named for a famous fountain or sculpture, but as Whyte says, what really attracts people is seeing other people. Plazas are an opportunities to enjoy public life–share a lunch, people watch, catch a sunbreak, see some art. As we shed our reputation of auto row and state highway and work towards a walkable neighborhood, activating public spaces is our key to a vibrant community.

Have ideas for artists you would like to see in 2018? Are you interested in writing a Put the Arts in Parks or Small Sparks Fund grant for a cultural event in our neighborhood? Contact us. Hope to see you at a concert in 2018.

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Find this article interesting? Delve more into the activation of small urban spaces….

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William Whyte: The Social Life of Small Urban Places

World Dance Party in NE Seattle

1st Annual Couldn’t Have Been More Fun!

world-dance-group

November 18th brought the first “World Dance Party” to NE Seattle and it was not to be missed. The evening was an incredible night of sharing culture with each other through food, art and dance. Six scheduled dance instructions kept the night zipping along kicking off with none other than the “Chicken Dance”. As the evening progressed another set of impromptu dances came from attendants eager to share their cultural expression including a Turkish Folk Dance and some traditional Somali Dancing.

world-dance-welcome-tree
World Dance Welcome Tree

 

Everyone enjoyed a fantastic feast made up of potluck dishes brought by attendants, donations from the Kaffeeklatsch and Mo and Lu Pasta and wonderful offerings from Stephen with the Hunger intervention program and the staff of the North Seattle Family Resource Center. In addition, participants were asked to fill out a leaf and attach it to the “You Are Welcome Here” tree identifying where people had come from. The Lake City Youth Leadership Program helped with set up and take down and also offered up a cool mask decorating station.

world-dance-masks

LCFF was honored to take part in the event that was made possible through the Seattle Parks District’s “Recreation 4 All” initiative. Resources were available for individuals and families through several groups including the Office of Civil Rights and the ORCA card program. Partnering on the evening were the Children’s Home Society of Washington, Lake City Seniors, Lake City Branch of the Seattle Public Library, Hunger Intervention Program, LCFF, Seattle Parks and Department of Neighborhoods. Continue reading “World Dance Party in NE Seattle”