Sunday, September 15, 2013

Artify and the Big Model City

Today is Open Streets Saint Paul, held on University Avenue between Hamline Avenue and Marion Street. From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., they're closing an almost-three-mile stretch of the street to illustrate what life could be like without cars.

University Avenue is where the Green Line light rail trains will begin running next June. The tracks and stations are already in place, and the line is currently being tested. I heard there may be some trains on hand at the festival today, as well as four stages with music, lots of food, and arts activities.

The Hamline (west) end of the Open Streets area is home to a group called Artify.

(Nice logo, by the way!)

They're a place-making organization, located in a former car dealership building. While I was there last week, they were preparing to paint the parking lot with a mural. It's a temporary location for the group, through April 2014, where they invite artists (broadly defined) to use their skills to express their sense of the place where they live.

In 2014, PPL (Project for Pride in Living, a great local community development corporation) will develop approximately 108 rental units on this site, with retail space at street level.

I don't know if Artify is a temporary organization, or if it's just their current space that's temporary, but either way, I'm glad they're at work.

Inside the Artify space is one of the coolest things I've seen recently.

As a person who loves models and pretty much anything that's miniaturized, I couldn't get enough of looking at the model they've created of the Saint Paul portion of the Green Line area, from the Minneapolis line to the State Capitol. They took a large satellite photo print and overlaid it with scale models of the buildings, cut from rigid foam insulation.

This is the area around the intersection of Lexington and University. I'm not sure, but I think the pink buildings represent future development, while blue, yellow, and white represent something else.

This is is the Raymond and University area. The white rectangle near the lower center is the Seal High Rise, a public housing building. None of those pink buildings currently exist.

Thanks to Artify for all its work.

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