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Downtown Parking Lots to Receive Public Art Upgrades

Walker Evans Walker Evans Downtown Parking Lots to Receive Public Art Upgrades"The Non-Booth" — rendering via Neal Clements.
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Urban enthusiasts generally agree that there’s no bigger blight on a Downtown area than a surface parking lot. They use a lot of space for a single purpose that is always considered underutilized when compared to virtually any other type of development, large or small.

Thankfully, Columbus is filling in surface lots with new development, consolidating parking spaces in to garage structures, and supplementing with transit and service-sharing improvements — but there’s still a large sea of asphalt throughout the urban core that likely isn’t going to disappear as rapidly as most people would like. And that’s why Bold Booths is here to help.

Bold Booths is the name of a new public art installation that combines the functionality of parking lot booth buildings with the aesthetic contribution of an interesting visual enhancement to an otherwise bleak hardscape. The project is a continuation of the Finding Time: ColumbusPublicArt2012 program that installed multiple public art displays during our city’s bicentennial year.


“This Could Be” — Rendering by Design Group.


Day and night views of “Microtower” — Renderings by Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design.


Day and night views of “The Non-Booth” — Renderings by Neal Clements.

Curated by Malcolm Cochran, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art at OSU and Project Director of Finding Time, Bold Booths will feature five innovative parking booth installations by five architects and designers, which will come to life over the span of the next year. The booths will provide shelter for parking attendants and customers, and are also created to drive dialogue about the role that design plays in creating interesting public spaces. The program is made possible by a $60,000 grant from OSU’s Office of Outreach and Engagement.

“We’re excited to be a part of this program with The Ohio State University,” said Capital Crossroads SID Executive Director Cleve Ricksecker, a community partner for the program. “The University’s involvement in Downtown will result in a unique approach to public art with Bold Booths.”


Left: BA Workshop’s parking booth design. Right: Night and day views of Blostein/Overly’s “Coney Island” parking booth.

The first installation to come online was designed by Blostein/Overly Architects, and will be located in the Westin Great Southern Hotel parking lot on Main Street between High and Third Streets. The second design from BAWorkshop will be featured at the Eckl Parking Company lot, located on High Street between Long and Gay. The remaining three Bold Booths are expected to be installed sometime in 2015.

“Westin Hotel was selected as the first site because the Westin was very generous in providing complimentary rooms to Finding Time artists and curators from out of town,” explained Cochran. “And the Eckl Parking Company as a partner in this, is contributing one third of the cost for the booth on its lot.”

In related news, two local art projects were recognized national last month by Americans for the Arts. The organization honored 37 public art projects (out of a pool over over 340 submitted) created in 2013 all across the US, including the Goodale Park Fountain by Malcolm Cochran and The Time and The Temperature by Jon Rubin.


Juror Cath Brunner from Seattle noted that the Goodale Park Fountain was the only fountain that the juror panel was aware of that had been designed specifically for year-round operation and that the dramatic winter images of ice formations were “burned in her brain”. The Time and The Temperature was created during the Finding Time public art exhibition and Rick Livingston of OSU’s Humanities Institute stated that it represented “an open invitation to find time for what’s most important, to reflect on who we are together.”

For more information, visit www.columbuspublicart.com.


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