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Read With Me

I recently blogged about an inspiring public art project called the Spiral of Hope. It turns out the artist behind that project, Bryan Ohno, is also behind another art project that caught my attention: Read With Me.

Read With Me presents site-specific installations in Pioneer Square’s Occidental Square, at S. Main St. & Occidental Ave. S., by twelve writers. This is the first of a series of art installations called Galleria Occidental. The exhibition runs through the end of summer.

Occidental Square and Park

As someone who’s hosted poetry readings at his Council Committee meetings since 1998, I like the idea of an outdoor literary salon where the public can bump into random stories that spark the imagination. In fact, in an earlier blog I advocated for something very similar – a writer’s park – to be included in our ongoing central waterfront redesign plans.

As one enters Occidental Square, they will see lamp posts, trees and other park artifacts highlighted as if on display in a museum. The intent is to bring attention to things in the urban landscape that become invisible over time due to our familiarity with them. These “sculptures” incorporate plaques displaying fiction and poetry. The writings attempt to inspire visitors to view these all-too common spaces with fresh eyes and an open mind.

Read With Me is part of ARTSparks 2012, produced by Urban Art Concept and sponsored by 4 Culture, the Downtown Seattle Association, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the Seattle Parks Foundation and the Jim Ellis Freeway Park Association.

Co-curators are Frances Dinger and Bryan Ohno. Contributing writers include Tara Atkinson, Greg Bem, Jamey Braden, Richard Chiem, Darren Davis, Wilie Fitzgerald, Len Kuntz, Stacey Levine, Justin Noga, Bernadette Pajer, Kevin Sampsell, M. Thompson and Jane Wong.

This project demonstrates to me why Seattle is one of the best read cities in the U.S.

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