The bricks and mortar makeover of downtown Kent generated a lot of attention but we’re really hoping that public art will animate the buzz.
Art is engaging, it’s experiential, it creates an impression that’s open for interpretation — which pretty much sums up what Kent is all about. Art and Kent are custom made for each other.
Kent has a great history of underground art that in recent years has been gaining ground in exhibits and galleries. That’s great for gallery wonks but art should for everyone, and if we can’t get everyone into the galleries then it’s time to take art to where the people are — into the streets, on sidewalks, benches, bike racks, signs, etc.
We’re aspiring for Uber Art in Kent. Art that is ubiquitous and found in surprising places.
The arts is engrained in Kent’s DNA, we’re just trying to uncarve the block and liberate it from it’s velvety gallery ropes, let its hair down, and get back to it’s roots where arts ideas are first formed — not in museums but in living, learning and engaging places.
Downtown Kent is out to prove that you don’t have to sacrifice artistic value for functional performance; they can be mutually inclusive if you’re creative enough.
So that’s the thought process behind Kent’s artistic bike racks and our artistic street signs. Love’em, hate’em, or selfie with them — they’re living proof that art in Kent isn’t bound by the limits of the conventional canvass.
That message of not being bound by convention, testing limits, reframing perspectives and finding meaning in our lives is what college towns promise and in a thousand little ways we’re trying to make sure that Kent lives up to that promise.
Next up are those utility boxes around town. I’ve been working on trying to get the green light from our utilities to transform utility boxes into outdoor art.
Here’s some examples of how much more utility boxes can be if we let them.