Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skate Boarding

I love this! And by the way, something to consider when designing public spaces.

Poverty of Spirit

As the race for council seats in Brunswick MD gets underway and citizens are thinking about what they would like to change or improve in our City, I would like to explore an aspect of the larger problem of the relationship of City Hall to the community that I have been thinking about for some time.

How the City maintains and manages city property, the spaces that are open to all citizens and the public, that are often welcoming signs to visitors and which serve as strong visual clues to the spirit of a place, are in a state of poverty and neglect. There is an utter lack of consciousness and care in our public landscapes.

Square Corner Park is a good place to start, arguably the most cared for and most visible of the Downtown public properties. While it almost always comes down to a retort of lack of funding, the following cost nothing to improve other than someone caring about a job well done. I am 110% behind recycling containers in the park. Six of them are overkill causing excessive visual clutter and physically inhibiting the proper function of other facilities, for no particular reason other than thoughtlessness. If they must be stored in the park, there are less obtrusive place to put them than in the welcoming viewshed. Does a port-a-potty really need to be feet away from the drinking fountain, and so up front in the park? And no, these photos are not taken the morning after an event; these are taken today, 2 ½ weeks after July’s first Friday.

What is the point of having beautiful new benches if this is how they are treated?

Bike racks are at a premium downtown, is this really the best use of space?

On a positive note, a very skilled volunteer recently pruned the winter storm damage and low hanging branches of the established Cherry trees. Thank you, Mr. Olson.

Stay tuned, more to follow…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gardening for a living

While I am home recovering this week from eye surgery, thought I’d catch up with things. I’ve been doing a lot of garden maintenance, my newest plan B career. A, being my art career, which I have been ignoring in favor of B. This is the first time in my life I’ve done work and simply gotten paid for it at an agreed upon price. I have always worked on speculation, whether for tips or making things to sell. Just getting paid is sooo easy. Who would have known? And I love going to work; I’ve never enjoyed leaving the house as much. Going to work to make art is in a different category since I am not “going out into the world” physically, so the two experiences are not comparable in my mind.

Anyways, I am taking care of 10 gardens, 2 are actually getting very little care, but I check in from time to time for the essentials, they are both old and don’t require much attention. In a state of grace you might say. The garden I spend the most time in is always running way ahead, I will be lucky to cover all the areas before Thanksgiving and it already needs me to go back and redo what’s been done, everything lively and boisterous and jumping around. But this garden will be splendid one day. One garden just stays finely tuned all the time. Wonderful Jerry helps me out from time to time in various gardens and I am counting among these our garden, which we both work in for free, of course, sorting out the coexsistanance of our different styles and tastes. Several others are volunteer efforts, the Police Station’s perennial garden, with tomatoes plants added, right around the corner from us. The Pocket Park which I am determined to make into a lovely little public place in time and my Guerrilla Garden where we have saved several very old, very big Yews, one from grape vine suffocation and on from weed tree invasion. But the next job there is hard and nasty, separating gavel from dirt to resurrect perennial beds. Maybe in the fall, when it’s cooler?

New Eye

I can see again! I had cataract surgery on my left eye yesterday and it’s now an unbelievably beautiful new world out there. I’ve had increasing cloudiness in that eye for years but of late I’ve seen nothing but a white cloud. Note: very challenging condition for making left-handed turns on a bicycle in traffic… The really surprising thing however, beyond being able to see with two eyes again, is the brilliant colors, the heightened contrast and the shininess of things. Perhaps this is because my pupil is still wide open? I was quite used to a slightly flat, dull view with skewed depth perception. But now I am living in a Technicolor 3D viewfinder.