Remembering Black Wall Street
99 years ago ...
Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives has funded nearly $40,000 in micro-grants to help fund individuals or organizations with project plans to lift the spirits of the community through placemaking and public art, and drive support of downtown districts and businesses. In June, the organization partnered with Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma to release a call for applications. In total, 42 applications were received totaling over $100,000. The organizations had planned to fund up to $20,000, but after receiving so many quality requests, the Downtown OKC Initiatives board approved an additional $20,000.
“Downtown is a gathering place for our entire city, and COVID-19 has challenged our approach to public space and transformed consumer habits that have impacted our downtown merchants,” said Kristen Vails, Director of Placemaking for Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership. “These projects aim to offer new ways for the public to experience our downtown districts and increase foot traffic for our downtown businesses,” she continued.
One project, titled “Hope Flags” by artist Jarica Walsh uses materials from the “corona gardens” Oklahomans started to soothe the unease of living through a pandemic. Jarica will be visiting these gardens to collect enough plant materials to make a small cyanotype print flag. The flags will be sewn together in traditional prayer flag format and hung overhead to make a public meditative space for collective healing. The flags will be displayed at Elemental Coffee in Midtown.
Another project called “Community Steps” focuses on the front steps of Frontline Church in Midtown. “We would love for people to feel like our beautiful front stairs are a spot they are welcome to hang out on, eat lunch, read a book or take a rest. We will build small “stair tables” that nest on the stairs for people downtown to use during the day,” said Kori Hall, Frontline Church.
Artist Micheal Höffner’s project, “Let’s Play Coronavirus Hopscotch”, creates a 6-foot long game of hopscotch in Film Row to playfully remind participants to respect others who may be feeling anxious about returning to social spaces.