At the beginning of June, John and I submitted a proposal for the City of Norfolk's first parklet program. Truthfully, I didn't really want to be tasked with building a parklet, but why would my juvenile proposal get picked anyway. Since it was one of three submitted, the Downtown Norfolk Council decided to go ahead with all three ideas, reimbursing half of what was purchased up to $2,500. Wait, what? My fantastic reading skills lead me to believe that all materials would be covered up to $2,500. So now we have to build a parklet and pay for it? How much will all of this actually cost? How are we psychically going to construct this thing? Who is this we? Where do we get "parklet materials"? How will we make sure it's ADA compliant, weather proof and withstand Norfolk in general?
The answer to all these questions? Just ask Norfolk. John asked Drew Richards for some help gathering pallets, to which he brought us these massive 6'x8' pallets, making the perfect base. I called Sherwin Williams in Ghent asking for donations of paint, to which they handed over a trunk-full of colors. We asked Amanda Page Stephens to paint a 'forest floor mural', to which she gathered a team of tweens and spent four evenings in my basement perfecting. John was put in contact with Lancaster Farms, who donated four Willow trees and more than 40 plants. We got a gracious donation from Brother Rutter, discounts from local shops and strangers transporting murals across town. We put a call out on Facebook asking for plants, lumber, tools, paint supplies and volunteers, to which more than 30 people showed up for a seven-hour work day at The Plot and what would become the DisplacedForestNFK (i.e. parklet). The DNC went above and beyond to provide lunch, extra soil and gravel (which was crucial), but most importantly volunteered a staff member to keep the trees and plants watered everyday. And to top it all off, we got a visit from Senator Mark Warner before his appearance at The Parlor!
It was a magical day in the Arts District. And a fantastic day for Norfolk. The city is changing. The scene is growing. The people are learning. It takes time and lots of effort. But we are making the difference and it will continue to happen and get easier with each project, if we just ask for a little help. See more photos here and a wonderful video here.
Thanks to Amanda Page Stephens, Joe Hamm, Arthur Rutter III, Downtown 100, Downtown Norfolk, Marc Ramsey, Peter Johnston, Jameson Dungan, Josh Roenker, The Plant Outlet at Lancaster Farms, Christina Keeling, Jackson Doughty, Kelly Jackson, Jesse Scaccia Scott Roberts,Eggleston Garden Center, Zoey Apelt, Izzy Cass, Raven Campbell, Amy Nix, The Parlor On Granby, Quincy Brown, Mia Byrd, Noel Gramlich, Mary Elizabeth Miller, Carl Ellis Tarkenton Jr., Rebecca Haynes, Eva Larainne,Leon Guanzon, Honee Guanzon, Chris Holder, Avi Meier, Samantha Hines Meier, Eudaimonia Amoruso, Joshua Akiva Weinstein, Megan O'Reilly, Stephanie Richmond, Brian Malasics, Joe White, Matt Paddock,Lydia Sara Hanssen & Kurt, Erin Cook, Najah Neely, Stacy Ortiz, Mike Hull, Jason Lynch, the DNC Clean/Street Team and everyone else who made this day so great!
For my 92 Days of Summer list, this satisfies: my last monthly self portrait (#37); my last freebie: build a parklet (#81); visit a museum - we just built an outdoor variety (#23); and collage - since this is a piece of art made by sticking various materials together (#59).