Summer 2017 the good people at Metroplex
mentioned that they would love to do something to improve the experience in the Broadway Parking garage. They had recently added some cool programmable lights and made repairs but they craved a more inviting space for the public. We briefly talked about some ideas but tabled the discussion to push through current work.
While the project simmered on the back burner, I attended the AIGA national leadership retreat. Exposed to the energy and excitement of people working together thoughts of the garage kept coming back to me. Sure, it would be great to design something on my own. But maybe, just maybe, it would be more interesting if I invited other artists to work with me. And so began a unique project.
The Broadway Parking Garage is the largest lot managed by Park Schenectady. It is the place to park when attending Proctors, Bowtie Cinemas, Schenectady Greenmarket, or grabbing a meal. With five floors it is served by two elevator banks. I proposed that we create graphic panels on the doors of the elevators that would draw attention to the space, celebrate Schenectady, enhance way-finding and beautify. In essence, we would create hidden Instagram-able places.
Beyond a handful of representational sculptures Schenectady has virtually no public artwork. However, creatives form a significant portion of our upstate economy. Our parking garage project embraced and engaged designers from our community, drew upon their unique strengths and brought artwork to the public.
Using the AIGA Slack channel, designers were invited to express interest. From that group five design teams with strong ties to Schenectady were selected to propose concepts for digitally printed environmental graphics. Each designer was given specifications, a budget and assigned a floor number. In turn they produced suitable electronic files. I coordinated the project.
Our project grew to include the newly-painted entrance wall. Paul and Chelsea from Bear Design Co. knocked it out of the park with their vintage-postcard-inspired design.