While the last posts here on this blog have displayed groups of sweaters, sometimes it seemed most beneficial to have a lot of sweaters to provide greater visual impact. This placement is case in point. At the northwest corner of Scottsdale Road and Pinnacle Peak Road, a dozen signs exist for various developments in the area for new homes with grandiose amenities or lifestyles. I pass this corner on a regular basis and couldn’t resist the urge to place a collection here to contrast the purpose of the advertisement. While on one hand, the viewer might think the sweaters are a gimmick for the housing development, the intention is quite the opposite. Also, in this neighborhood of homes where the average cost of a house is around the low $500’s and up, I wanted to promote an organization such as NCH whose mission is to educate the public on the various dilemmas people face when they struggle for shelter. We’ll see how long the sweaters remain there. Many people I am sure will just drive by and not even think to stop to pick one up (unless you follow the blog of course).
Category Archives: Public sites
To commemorate the project for posterity, I sent one sweater off to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Megan Hustings, the Director of Development, and I have been in correspondence over the past year and a half regarding the project and any proceeds that could be directly attributed to the finding of the sweaters. The letter outlines the completion of the project on my part and thanks the organization for letting ARTivention sponsor them for this collective endeavor. And while Megan has been keeping up with the blog, now she will have a sweater in person to look at and be reminded of all of us who have knitted and placed a sweater around the country in support for the organization and its mission.
For the longest time I have wanted to place a sweater at a model home furnished by IKEA in a giant parking lot that serves both IKEA and several stores opposite of the store. It is a very peculiar setting to see this house smack in the middle of the parking lot. Then, when you enter the home, a peculiar array of sales people are sitting around, waiting for any interaction. And, finally, during a recession caused primarily by the housing market, it seems extremely strange to see this development promote its amenities while the state of AZ is one of the hardest hit with foreclosures flooding the current market price. After inquiring about price of various locations, it is obvious that this factor has affected the pricing structure since the homes are much more reasonably priced than if they had been built six years ago. Once inside the extremely large home, it’s hard not to get excited about the possibility of living in such luxury. I couldn’t help but think of the number of families that could live inside this home without being overcrowded. Only in America could you sell homes that haven’t been built yet while others can’t even be written off the bank’s books.
Brooklyn boasts of great community gardens that provide fresh grown organic produce to local folks and this is where I decided to place one of them Saturday morning. The small green space, formerly a vacant lot, was turned into a park and garden spot serving local families with the need to connect with our agrarian roots. In contrast to the cement towers just over the river, this area felt incredibly more open and inviting as a neighborhood for families and just plain out living. Of course, urbanites who are attracted to the cement towers may take offense, and I happen to be one who enjoys both perspectives, but it was great to see how people all over the country are exploring urban and suburban environments that in the past were just left for decay. Similar programs exist in Phoenix AZ and the surrounding areas. I have also heard of residents of Detroit claiming back the space utilizing vacant lots for food production. When we start to think about the needs of our community, it only enriches all of us. In that vein, this seemed like an ideal location for a little sweater.
Autumn in New York. Famous song by one of my favorite singers and one I couldn’t help but sing in my head as I wandered through Central Park on a perfectly chilly cloudy afternoon. The park always seems as if it was designed by Disney as a theme park for the city with the boulders popping out of idyllic water ponds and meandering paths that lead you through the center portion of the city. Knowing full well that this park’s design not only was extremely original in it’s day but also inspired city planners to incorporate more green space into the massive industrialization of many cities, makes me appreciate this space all the more. And of course, parks are for everyone. The democratic environment of the park is one of my favorite things to explore. Prior to placing the sweater, I sat at a bench spinning silk from a drop spindle for my hostess as token of my appreciation. I was also curious to see if anyone would interact with me as I spun away. Finally, just as my hands were starting to burn from the chill in the air, a woman from Napal came by and chatted away with me about how women in her country spin their yarns. It was a great to hear her talk about her 14 years of living in various parts of the U.S. and how she really loves living in New York. Yes, autumn in New York is a great time of year.
The subway is one of the best parts of New York. It can take you anywhere in the city and is an example of one of the most complete operational public transit systems in the country. It is also such a great place for people watching. So, at the juncture of several different train lines, I placed this sweater just above eye level in hopes that people might take a moment and look around their environment, being aware of the subtlety of this placement. Doubtful, I know, as many passengers are often rushing from one place to another, but important none the less. Similar to taking time out for ourselves, our family and our larger community, the act of being visually aware, conscious of our surroundings and open to its needs enriches our lives. Likewise, art can make one appreciate the minutia in our hectic frenetic life styles and also point the direction in which we may need to take. I am sure that this sweater will hide here for many days before being found, but just imagine what that sweater might look upon as it waits.
The Big Apple as it is called, turns out to be filled with public pay phones. Honestly, I was a bit shocked. In the vicinity of Park Ave and 44th St., I placed this sweater for the unsuspecting pedestrian to hopefully find and be prompted to donate. As this location is quite close to some large banking firms, I am sure there are many wandering the local streets consumed with the daily business of our country’s economic dilema. Unfortunately, these might not be the same folks who need the public pay phone, but maybe it will at least provide the opportunity for someone to feel engaged in a larger communal effort beyond their habitual routine.
En route to New York for a conference, I had a stash of sweaters that I was hoping to place around the country. Arriving in Chicago O’Hare airport with a 2 hour delay offered me the luxury of eating a sumptuous lunch at Wolfgang Puck restaurant and I felt compelled to leave a sweater behind. Serving as more of a benevolent gesture of gratitude that I could afford the luxury, the sweater will hopefully remind the finder that many can’t. Also, what a nice surprise for any unsuspecting wait staff who might also appreciate customers who think beyond their own desires. I remember not so fondly the days of being a struggling art student surrounded by privileged students who could afford lunch every day of the week while I was working 30-40 hours per week and taking 18 credit hours and only had the ability of providing for one meal a day for myself. Reflecting upon such experiences may seem trivial in comparison to fellow neighbors who might be struggling with such issues daily, but it does make me thankful for what I do have.
This was a really interesting placement. Traveling southbound on I-17, we stopped at a rest area. Despite the lateness of the night, the emanating heat of the desert was oppressive. As I was wandering around searching for a place for this sweater, I noticed a person sitting on the opposite side of this window with a bicycle and a backpack. In his hands was a styrofoam container of food that was rapidly disappearing. While it is difficult to say what the specifics of this situation actually was, it became clear that with no roads in close proximity that this gentleman had a long, difficult journey ahead of him, most of which would be at the mercy of others providing a ride down the hill into the desert. And, of course, as often happens with placing these sweaters, I become all too aware of the trials and tribulations of others and became very thankful that while we had been on the road for 5 days, that I had a bed to rest upon that evening.
This little guy was placed at the welcome center in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Such an interesting museum of mining and cultural artifacts of the area! One of the thoughts running through my head was how difficult it must have been to migrate west through the Rockies in search of gold that often was not found. The itinerant culture of miners and trackers must have been very similar to the dislocated individuals who are without long term housing, income and support. In an era of comfort where many public places provide air conditioning and public transit is more than a covered wagon, I wonder how disconnected we have become to our natural environment. What makes one living standard better than another? In third world economies, many people deal with the environment on a daily basis rather than escaping the comfortable confines of modernity, of which I am a guilty participant.