Knitscape Broadway was completed during a six-week period in the summer of 2009. Working with people in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cleveland was one of the most uplifting experiences of the Knitscape projects.
I worked with senior citizens at the University Settlement Senior Center during the creation of the crocheted pieces and then installed the Knitscape with the help of some unexpected, and delightful, volunteers from the neighborhood.
While I stitched the pieces on the posts in front of the neighborhood park, I struck up a conversation with a lanky teenaged boy waiting at the bus stop. We chatted about his school and sports and my art project as I worked. We connected and soon he was by my side stitching cozies on posts.
Later, football practice began in the park and the area was filled with kids and their families. Chareana, a girl of about 10 years old, settled in next to me. She had me laughing and I had her stitching on cozies in no time. By sunset we were friends and I had been accepted into this community.
The Knitscape projects were conceived to create a community around an art project and to enliven daily life with unexpected art. I was unprepared, however, for the hundreds of connections that were formed while working in the neighborhoods of Cleveland. I have been honored to be the recipient of a continuous flow of kindness, curiosity, humor, appreciation and joy. Every day was filled with delightful interaction.
Of course, for me as the artist, the opportunity to expose people to art on their turf was wonderful. People that had never even heard of public art not only helped create it, but are now experiencing it, living in it.
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