Walter Hood outlines the Sandbox Project at Jackson’s Center for the Arts. ~ T. Christel
“We’ll talk about its capacity, trees, theaters, animals, water, earth, habitat, the mountains and about the community, all within this setting.” ~~ Walter Hood
Launching February 14th, 2014: www.sandbox.jhcenterforthearts.org! That’s where the public gets the chance to chime in on how the Center for the Arts’ ambitious back lawn landscape design project might evolve. Nationally noted urban landscape designer Walter Hood, overseeing the project in partnership with Steve Dynia, gave Jacksonites a chance to play in the sand three nights in a row; participants used specially constructed sandboxes and props to define what they envision for the open space.
“We’ll look primarily at the expanded architectural program with Steve Dynia; the sandboxes are about the landscape,” said Hood. “This is a landscape, not a park, or a garden. It’s open. We also understand that the cadence, how you move through Jackson, is a grid. This is a very urban place. We have a lot of houses, a lot of cars, a lot of parking, a lot of these issues. One of the things we hope we can do…is make the space more successful for people moving through the neighborhood. We do think Snow King can come down to us by taking back the streets and the alleys. The alleys are really important. As you move north and south through the alleys, they are beautiful. As you can see here, the alleys have been largely erased. So how can we bring back a lot of this (structural) morphology?”
Hood asked the group to consider a long list of factors as they went about their designs. The first was that this space is NOT Jackson’s Town Square, and duplicating the Square is not on the agenda. But what kind of a landscape can this open space become?
A detail of Walter Hood’s landscape design for the deYoung Museum – photo by T. Christel
“The Center really needs to think about its building program, its architecture. It would be great to have artists come here 24/7, to have studios where they can make art. Where would you put the building? If I put it out there in the landscape, it’s going to have a consequence on the landscape. We’ll see how we can use architecture to make something really powerful. Some ideas are a clubhouse where people can meet, an exhibition space, a multipurpose place. We think this will be a hybrid place, with things nested in one another,” said Hood. “Cafes, other permanent and temporal spaces within the building envelope. [In the West and Jackson] there exist successful pieces of architecture that elucidate the landscape. Steve is very talented — just being down one story, look how that mountain comes out and the middle ground disappears, a beautiful thing. How can we expand upon that?”
Ideally, artists (who aren’t already) would be inspired to make work here. Sculptural landscape is a “yes.” Programmed landscape, a “no.” Building upon the idea of an outdoor theater, Greek or Roman, embracing or inscribing, are interesting. Multi-purpose uses that might change with the seasons, be temporary or permanent, should be considered; Hood recalled Candra Day’s constructing yurts on the lawn.
One could look at a land form and see a lot of things, Hood remarked. A child may see a playhouse, an artist a place to bang steel, a dancer a natural stage. Forms can inspire and begin to say something about the landscape—inspiring, even in mud season.
“Can we do things like add trees, and then take them away, like a clear-cut,” Hood asked. “Think about when the snow is here, when it’s not here. Can you do something in the wintertime? It might be ice skating, it might be mud wrestling! But whatever it is, it should embrace the landscape. We also know there are residential areas on our perimeter, and when events happen some elements may have to be mitigated, like noise. Do we want to make walls, edges?”
Lastly, said Hood, how do we bring our urban grid into this space? Again, the alleys are important, as they allow possible connections to the nearby church, the mountain, and other points immediately around the Center.
In a brief Q&A, it was confirmed that the Town of Jackson owns the land and is providing the Center a long-term lease; the Town, said one representative, is “very open” to this project. When asked about how the Center might draw people from Jackson’s Town Square to the new Center space, Hood responded that the idea is in the hopper, and brainstorming was the point of these workshops.
“We’re not looking for scheme A, B or C; we simply want to draw on ideas, so we can begin to think about the space and the Center,” emphasized Hood. All ideas are great ideas!” www.jhcenterforthearts.org
(PS: I hope Mark Berry is smiling!)
Snake River Reverse Project, adjacent to J.H. Center for the Arts Lawn – photo & art courtesy Bland Hoke
Event: Lindsey Ross’s Traveling Tintype Studio
Place: The Rose/Pink Garter Theatre
Date: Thursday Jan 23, 5-10pm
Bonus: Family portraits: 5-7pm
From Lyndsay McCandless: Lindsey Ross‘ singular, tintype portraits are the real deal: 19th century technology wet plate collodion, a photographic process popular from 1850’s-1880’s, that documented the American Civil War and America’s Western expansion. Ross uses raw materials to create the photographic emulsion on an aluminum plate. While the emulsion is still wet, Ross exposes the plate to the subject using a century old camera and prolonged exposure times. Ross develops the image in a darkroom on site; portraits appear within a minute.
“Tintypes are archivally stable, so they create an instant heirloom and art object. Because the exposures are long, subjects are encouraged to relax, be still and be present as their image is made,” says McCandless. “The slow process often brings out subtle, expressive similarities between family members. Come experience this historic and beautiful process!” For information on print prices, email firstname.lastname@example.org.