By Maquette Reeverts | Alberta Art Works
In 1997, the Alberta Streetscape plan was hatched as an attempt to rejuvenate Alberta Street. The main street had lost its luster and the city finally invested in the district via the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Aligned with the community, the plan included a focus on the aesthetics of the strip. Curbs were extended, trees planted, the iconic kinetic street lighting added and eight bus benches installed.
The idea was to make the street more functional and aesthetically pleasing for both pedestrians and cars.
By 2016, those bus benches had been forgotten. They were covered in tags and were in utter disrepair. Alberta Art Works negotiated an Adopt a Landscape agreement to do something about the eyesores that ranged from 7th to 24th avenues.
By creating a sponsorship program, businesses or individuals pay local artists to paint benches. The benches are repainted every two years. The artists thank the sponsor(s) on the backs of the benches, and they sign the fronts.
This spring several benches will be repainted and – with all the changes in the landscape of Alberta Street – it will be a welcome splash of public art in our shared space in time for summer.
Want to sponsor a local artist and contribute to our Alberta arts legacy? See AlbertaArtWorks.org to find out more.
Michel Reeverts, aka Maquette , holds a master of arts degree in art education, serves Alberta Art Works as director and Alberta Street Gallery as a board member. She is also a practicing artist. Contact her at Maquette@AlbertaArtWorks.org.
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