A Return to New Public Sites

By January 20, 2021Blog
Curbside Commons

New Public Sites has always been a way of seeing, feeling, experiencing, and discussing the invisible sites and overlooked features of our everyday places. From finding a sublime in the braided trees growing of a vacant lot in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 2007 to learning about the impacts of ward politics dictating a highway cut through Mondawmin, West Baltimore in 2019, this project has always been about a creative openness to understanding the nuances of how public spaces shape our personal experiences, what they say about the past and possible future. Over the years I’ve learned that public space is truly what we make of it; because indeed, we continually make public spaces through policy, design, and just being: sitting, walking, talking, and exchange.

Like public spaces, the New Public Site program is always changing based on what me and we practice. What started off as a repository of poetic taxonomies of public spaces, later grew into a platform for sharing communal wanderings in Baltimore and Beyond. For several years I rejoiced in and relied on leading such walks in the service of sharing with and learning from the publics about how and why our cities look and feel like they do. We explored Baltimore’s shortsighted highways and malls of urban renewal, wandered so-called art districts in transition, and all the while advocated for pedestrian safety and green space access.

Now the New Public Wander takes another turn. As I double down on creating public art and placemaking for pedestrian safety and play, I’ve taken this moment to refocus my practice of New Public Sites back to its gravelly beginnings of defining terms and ideas so that we may detourne language towards better understanding our shared places and experiences.

I invite you to use, enjoy, and adapt the Typology of New Public Sites now featured on the front page of this website. The walk will continue among friends and neighbors both in personal moments and public engagement embedded within my ongoing public art practice. Be in touch.

– Graham