In spring Metro Parks Tacoma offered a hands-on professional public art education program, called Public Art Reaching Community (PARC), in collaboration with the City of Tacoma’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality. Under the direction of lead mentor artist Elisheba Johnson, 12 Pierce County artists participated in the program, learning how to develop artwork for the public realm through a combination of online classes, presentations, and mentorship sessions led by experts in the field of public art.
“Art and parks are a major part of Tacoma’s culture,” said Park Board Commissioner Andrea Smith. “Metro Parks is really excited to help Tacoma’s artists grow and provide venues where everyone has access to enjoy their work. These temporary public art installations express emotions that not only the artists—but many of us in our community are feeling, and their art communicates that shared experience in engaging new ways.”
Artists concluded the training sessions by developing proposals for temporary public art experiences on the theme of “Long Distance,” exploring what it means to connect with people while maintaining safe physical distancing. Artists will be launching their temporary projects over the next couple of months both in Tacoma neighborhoods and virtually.
The first three temporary projects are:
‘I Love All of You’ by Gerardo Peña aka Periko the Artist
Roof of First United Methodist Church (621 Tacoma Avenue S.) September 10 – 30
A giant papier-mâché megaphone announces to the community “I LOVE ALL OF YOU”, written in LED lights. You can see this installation on the
“It has been a tough year of divisiveness and isolation and I just wanted to spread a little love,” said Peña. “Sometimes I feel like I want to scream on a rooftop and why not make it something positive.”
‘You’ll Heal Tacoma’ by Jessica Spring
Stanley Playfield (1712 S 17th Street) September 12 – 20
With a nod to the “You’ll Like Tacoma” signage featured at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Exposition, You’ll Heal Tacoma is made up of nearly 300 posters with said message, that are rolled up to collectively spell the healing message in four foot letters. Nearly 25 feet long, “You’ll Heal Tacoma” will be installed along South 19th Street at Stanley Playfield.
Tacomans are encouraged to remove one letterpress printed poster to take home, then replace it with their own message of healing. Paper and writing tools are provided on site, however, viewers are welcome to bring their own paper and markers too.
“You’ll Heal Tacoma” is literally a sign for our pandemic times. Both an urgent call to action and a future prediction. While the historic Tacoma sign was powered with electric bulbs, this version glows with hope and healing for our city,” said Spring.
‘I Am Here for You’ by Sophia Munic
Video debuts at www.sophiamunic.com on October 1
A short video compilation of people interacting with soft sculptures, crafted to represent ‘hugs’. You can watch the video at www.sophiamunic.com starting October 1.
“This project examines how our relationship to physical touch has changed during the pandemic, how we are soft with ourselves and others, and how we find comfort amidst how COVID-19 limits our ability to physically connect to others,” said Munic.
The remaining temporary projects will launch this fall. PARC participating artists are: the team of Anida Yoeu Ali & Masahiro Sugano, Rahman Curtis Barika, Adika Bell, Priscilla Dobler Dzul, Sophia Munic, Teruko Nimura, Gillian Nordlund, Gerardo Peña, Paige Pettibon, Trenton Quiocho, Jessica Spring, and Monica Yi.
ABOUT METRO PARKS TACOMA
Metro Parks Tacoma is an award-winning park district in Tacoma, Washington. Incorporated in 1907, the park district is one of only a handful in the country that exists as a separate municipal corporation with the ability to collect property taxes for support.
Metro Parks Tacoma believes that good parks, open space, and program services contribute to economic development by fostering economic benefits and promoting tourism. Environmentally, they provide green infrastructure and help manage climate change. Socially, they revitalize communities, create safer neighborhoods, help children learn and grow, improve public and environmental health, and support smart growth. Culturally, open space and program services can nurture a sense of place in the community, and provide opportunities to engage the public of diverse backgrounds.