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….

The Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Transformation of Public Spaces

William Whyte: The Social Life of Small Urban Places

Great Event to Talk About the 125th Street Park Space

Thanks to All Who Participated

Fifteen Lake City Neighbors came out on a beautiful sunny Saturday to give their time and energy to ideas around the concrete plaza known as the Lake City Mini Park. We received wonderful support from participants attending  the national Congress for New Urbanism conference. I met about 20 of the CNU folks downtown and we loaded a bus to come up to Lake City and meet our Lake City group at the Mennonite Church for a lively discussion about the possibilities for the space. We look forward to sharing some of the ideas that came out of the event at upcoming events including our concert series starting on June 7th and our Farmers Market booth this summer.

It was really wonderful to get outside perspective from the CNU participants and their ideas and enthusiasm were matched by our own dedicated community members. We did not solve the issues that the plaza has but I believe it helped reinforce the concept that this is an important space and that it has the potential to be an asset.

Enjoy Lake City!

 

Plans for the Lake City Mini Park?

Explore the Possibilities

Join LCFF and supporters from the Congress for New Urbanism as we imagine and share ideas around the 125th lake city mini park

May 6th –  2-5 PM

Meet at the park space at 125th and Lake City Way – from there we will make our our way to the Mennonite Church for visioning, information and discussion.

Please RSVP to director@lakecityfuturefirst.org if you would like to participate

Continue reading “Plans for the Lake City Mini Park?”

Art on the Arch

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“My Home” by Elise Koncsek

LCFF caught up with local Artist Elise Koncsek as she was taking down her installation entitled “My Home” this past week at the Lake City Mini Park. I asked Elise if she would be willing to share a bit about her project:

“My Home provides a voice for Seattleites experiencing homelessness to define the concept of “home” and publicly share their needs and interests for housing solutions. With this project, I aim to spark discussion about homelessness in our city and encourage inclusion of people receiving housing services in the designing of our service programs. This project was created in partnership with a group of fifteen family members staying at the Mary’s Place Family Center in the spring of 2016 and funded by Put the Arts in Parks, a Seattle Park District initiative. My Home was created in collaboration with Consuela Thomas, Sylvester Young Jr., Crissy, Haregu Kahsory, JR, Olivia & Hailey, Lwam Tesfay, Mya “Baby Girl” Haggard, Daniel “Bad Boy” Haggard, Tsedale Woldesemaya, Robert M. Stevens, Ayan Ali, Dahlak Andemariam, Karlie Taylor, Willie III, and the staff at Mary’s Place Family Center. Special thanks to Artech for their Public Art Grant which provided installation support and Zot Lasers for laser cutting services” arch-art-2

Lake City was fortunate to have two wonderful installations at the Mini Park this year including that of artist Melissa Koch.

For those not lucky enough to have time  to appreciate Elise’s work, on the central figure is written “At my home” surrounded by speech bubbles. Phrases like “We’ll spend time with the kids”, “I’ll let my guard down”, “We’ll build traditions”, and “I’ll relax in a bubble bath” are just a few of the powerful statements. Thank you, Elise and all who worked on this project.