News & Events

An Innovative Response to COVID-19

Written by  Board Member, Elizabeth Brodek 
Understanding that the BID restaurants had limited seating capacity and the need for use of outdoor public space for restaurant carryout, Elizabeth wanted to make a big impact and engage with local
Artists. The BID put out a call for artists to paint the picnic tables and received 25 applications for the 10 tables. A jury of East Side business owners and residents chose the selected artists,
most of whom were women and women of color, and some for whom this was their first public art project. The BID paid each artist or artist team a stipend of $500 and provided all supplies.
The artists painted the tables in the lot over the course of a week, and foot traffic to the area increased significantly. It was like a gallery in motion. People loved seeing artists at work, the
ability to ask questions, and share their ideas for the area. One of the most enlightening pieces of feedback was that no one missed the parking or wanted to see it go back to a parking lot. Instead,
they were suggesting trees, pavement replacements, and programming activities. In the days following the opening of the East Side Art Lot, artists brought friends and family to visit the lot and
support nearby businesses. As the East Side Art Lot was coming to fruition, a local business that sells local makers’ work approached the BID and asked to run an Art Market in the Lot.
The East Side Art Market was put together and filled in two weeks. The Art Market ran every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4:00 P.M. throughout September.
 It drew dozens more people to the area who were there to support local artists – both makers and the musicians that played there. The art community has a tight following, so showcasing their
talents was not only helpful to them in a slow year, but also helpful to local businesses near the Market.

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