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Parking Lot Booths Transformed into Public Art Installations

Walker Evans Walker Evans Parking Lot Booths Transformed into Public Art InstallationsPhoto by Andy Spessard.
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Last summer we announced a new public art program that would replace five simple parking lot shacks with more interest visual pieces that would add a public art component into the middle of these surface parking hardscapes. The program, known as Bold Booths, has officially launched with the first of those five booths now installed in the Great Southern Hotel parking lot near the intersection of High Street and Main Street.

The program is a continuation of the city’s Finding Time temporary public art installation series that first began in 2012 during the Columbus Bicentennial celebration. The artists and coordinators behind the idea of transforming parking lots booths into artwork say that it is a unique one to Columbus.

”This is a chance to think of old surface parking lots in a new way with a marriage between public art and architecture,” said Malcolm Cochran, professor emeritus in the Department of Art at Ohio State and the project curator. “We selected this site for the first booth as a thank you to the hotel for providing a significant donation of complimentary rooms to out of town artists and curators in the Finding Time program.”

The first Bold Booth was designed by local architectural firm Blostein/Overly, who titled the work “Coney Island”.

“At the time the Southern Theatre was built, it was renowned for its superior acoustics, which were made possible through the use of unique geometries,” said Beth Blostein, co-designer of Coney Island and associate professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture. “These conic sections were re-engineered to form the spaces and views from the booth.”

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Cochran added that in addition to providing a functional role for parking lot service, he hopes that the creative display can help instill a sense of pride in something that is often overlooked in society.

“In our culture, someone who manages the parking attendant booth is not very high up on the totem pole… so I think it’s pertinent that these people will be housed in really interesting micro-buildings,” he said. “Somebody working there will have pride of ownership of working in a custom-designed work environment, and that speaks volumes for the people manning these booths.”

The four additional booths in the project are undergoing construction and are expected to be installed by the end of 2015.

For more information, visit www.boldbooths.org. Photos by Andy Spessard Photography.

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