I just had the pleasure of setting up a highly unusual sketching session for our Vancouver Urban Sketchers group. The idea came from Julien Thomas, social artist. I ran into him when he was occupying a traffic circle in my neighbourhood bike route over a year ago, inviting people for a coffee. His social art is to reclaim or create public spaces.
We’ve stayed in touch, and he told me he has a new project on the go: “Park-a-Park is a pilot initiative to transform a roll-off disposal bin into a mobile community space. The bin will be dropped at various locations throughout Vancouver over the summer of 2013, acting as an open space to convene and catalyze community initiatives. Park-a-Park is an open invitation to reimagine our relationship to streets and the public sphere.”
The bin is the “park”. It has been sitting in the Commercial Drive area for a week or two, but has just been dropped at its new location beside Spectrum Tower 2, 668 Citadel Parade, located above the Costco downtown, between the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. It is outfitted with seats and even an umbrella. Julien invited us to be one of the community groups who can organize an event in the bin. But I understand that the bin is available for spontaneous gatherings by passersby as well. Hopefully that, rather than spontaneous garbage disposal.
About a dozen of us will sit inside the bin and sketch on Friday morning from 10 until noon. For once we will be the attraction. I think many of us will want to sketch this sight from the outside. I think this will be a fun experience for us sketchers, and will help get the word out about urban sketching.
The funny thing is, Julien’s Park-A-Park is similar to a concept I sketched out about 6 weeks ago. I call it “public furniture to facilitate urban sketching, social interaction and contemplation”. And now it turns out he has created something in real life that is designed to do just that.
And of course, I will post sketches afterwards.