Classes are back in session. The first week is done. I’ve got an idea of what this semester will be like and it looks very busy. My elective, a class commissioned to make a piece of public art, is the most exciting one. It’s completely out of the ordinary. It’s art (not design) with mostly undergrads from diverse backgrounds, to create something that has to last atleast 9 years (I think that’s the number the contract stipulates) for the public (whatever that means).
The project is slated for a one year deadline however most projects like this usually take 2 to 3 years. Not only are we on a bit of a time crunch but being a school thing there will it will be somewhat disjointed with a summer break in the middle and possibly new team members come fall. I am very interested to see how the problems that normally affect group life will play a part in this. Luckily I have Nick in the class with me, or it might be a bit overwhelming. I imagine there are some strong personalities amidst all these artsy folks. Hopefully we can harness the uniqueness of the group to produce something excellent and not let our differences drive us apart.
We did manage to make it through the first class without any serious issues and today a few of us went down to the site of PECO’s development project, a new substation. Our budget comes from the 1% they are required to dedicate to the arts and thus there is somewhat of an expectation that we’ll make our art in the nearby neighborhoods. We decided to do some recon and get a feel for the area. It was pretty deep in west Philly on the banks for the Schuylkill in what looked like it used to be fairly industrial. The neighborhoods down there weren’t anywhere I’d want to be after dark. There were a couple weird spots of gentrification it seemed but for the most part it was abandoned garages, empty lots, boarded windows and trash in the streets with some churches sprinkled throughout.