29 August 2009

Sarah Tooley needs your help!

Support public art!!

Please consider emailing or calling today to express your support of a
public art piece that fosters community dialogue and highlights the
thoughts and opinions of marginalized voices. Below you will find a sample

Yesterday I received a call from the Chief Operating Officer of the DC
Dept of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the DC Commission on Arts and
Humanities requesting that I remove the temporary art installation I
installed 3 weeks ago, with written permission from DPR and paid for with
funding awarded by the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities and a MICA
Community Service Fund grant. The work is installed in the park at 14th,
Oak and Ogden Streets NW Washington, DC.

For this piece I interviewed 60 community members who live by the park
about their feelings and thoughts on their relationship to the park and
community safety. I worked with a team of volunteers to paint and
transcribe selected text from the diverse answers found in the interviews
onto the slats of seven wooden benches.

The artwork critically examines the use of public space in an urban
setting. Through the physical manifestation of the text painted on the
benches privately expressed opinions are launched into the public realm.
The differing views and experiences expressed lay side by side to confront
and co-exist with the assumptions, stereotypes, and lived realities of the
people who choose to spend time in the park, who steer clear of it, or
those who have felt pushed out.

I was told that one neighbor of the North Columbia Heights Civic
Association has been very vocal to Council member, Jim Graham, about her
displeasure with the installation of the piece. Don't let the voice of one
drown out the many represented in the artwork. I have a petition signed by
58 neighbors and DC residents endorsing the installation of the work in
the park.

Sarah Tooley

Please call or email Adrian Belinne, Chief Operating Officer of Dept of Parks and Recs, and CC Council member Jim Graham, and Lamont Harrell, Director of Partnerships and Development at DCCAH:

Adrian Belinne (202) 341-8367 adrian.belinne@dc.gov

Jim Graham (202) 724-8181 jgraham@dccouncil.us

Lamont Harrell (202) 724-5613 lamont.harrell@dc.gov

Sample email:

Dear Adrian Belinne,

I am writing to express my support of the public art installation located
at 14th, Oak, and Ogden Streets NW. I do not want it removed. Public art
that encourages dialogue and uplifts marginalized voices plays an
important part in democracy and civic engagement.

If the issue around this temporary public art installation continues to be
a problem I would like to recommend community mediation or community
conferencing be utilized to bring neighbors together to seek a solution
amenable to all parties. Thank you.


Sample phone message:

I am calling to express my support of the public art installation located
in the park at 14th, Oak, and Ogden Streets NW. I do not want it removed.

Thanks for your help!!

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