Art Meets the Street

Last week, we wrote about Chapter One of the SDOT Art Plan, jointly developed in 2005 with the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and written by Daniel Mihalyo.

A familiar example: Jack Mackie's "Dancing Steps" on Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood

A familiar example: Jack Mackie's "Dancing Steps" on Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood

Chapter Two of the Art Plan is a nuts and bolts “toolkit” developed for SDOT project managers. The toolkit helps project managers incorporate art and aesthetic treatments into the normal design and construction process for everyday objects in the right-of-way. Sidewalks, railings, benches, tree planters and bike racks are just a few of the items SDOT designs and installs every year that provide a perfect opportunity for art.

An everyday object made wonderful: a handrail along Beach Drive in West Seattle

An everyday object made wonderful: a handrail along Beach Drive in West Seattle

Lessons learned from art plans in other parts of the country showed us that plans that emphasize specific one-off ideas tended to gather dust. In contrast, the SDOT Art Plan gives direction for improving the quality of urban spaces by simply expanding the range of creative options available to project managers as they go through the normal design and construction process.

Have you noticed any of the newer street furniture, sidewalk treatments or tree plantings that you suspect might have involved the hard work of an artist in your neighborhood? (Example: this special sidewalk in West Seattle we blogged about last summer.) If so, let us know what you think!