Friday, September 21, 2012 , Updated 4:19 p.m., September 21, 2012
Photos: Dallas’ second annual PARK(ing) Day was green, clean, and full of steam
PARK(ing) Day puts the grass in grassroots.
DALLAS For those wont to deride Dallas’ lack of green space, downtown just sprouted 57 new “parks” overnight. PARK(ing) Day is a guerrilla eco-art project that began in 2005 in San Francisco. Today, it takes place in more than 160 international cities, and Dallas celebrated its second year of participation Friday along Main and Harwood.
More than 42 businesses and nonprofit organizations, and even a few individuals, gathered to install temporary parks in meter parking spaces and throughout Pegasus Plaza and Main Street Garden. From pedicures to yoga, animal adoption, food samples, and free games, each park emerged from its organizers’ creative ideation of what they hope to see for Dallas’ downtown.
PARK(ing) Day organizers Noah Jeppson and James Warton each live downtown and first connected on an online PARK(ing) Day forum. Both work full-time jobs, deciding to organize the event purely from their respective passion for the city. “We want to show people what a downtown community can be like,” Jeppson said. “Why wait on the city to do it? It’s really about movement from the grassroots level so that we have a say.”
And, while most of the mini-parks set up today downtown are temporary, Jeppson noted that nonprofit design center bcWORKSHOP was so inspired by last year’s event, they created a mobile parklet that can be parked at various locations throughout the year. “Last year, we encouraged people to think beyond just today’s event and long-term to reimagine the city and help make it more livable,” Jeppson said.
For Warton, one of the best aspects of PARK(ing) Day has been the synergy between design groups and nonprofits and individuals in need of their help. A member of the DFW chapter of Architecture for Humanity, Warton says that the long hours have been totally worthwhile if for nothing more than the skill-share network that cropped up organically. “Organizing PARK(ing) Day has been every bit of a second job,” he said. “But, now these groups are talking and can rely on each other to make their visions for Dallas really happen.”
For instance, Architecture for Humanity worked with Azteca Enterprises Group to create a lengthy green space where guests could lay back, hands behind their heads, and enjoy live music on a mini-stage, just like one might see in a full-sized park. Next year, Warton is hopeful the groups can work together again to create a space with playground equipment that can be really used on more than one occasion.
The spaces created by such groups are wonderfully sophisticated – and some even evoked a sense of “glamping.” Or, would it be “glarking?”
Other spaces are more modest, but that hasn't stopped the fun. Dad and daughter team Jeff and Sidney Tishgart created an outdoor arcade, replete with hand-made skee-ball, plinko, and bean bag toss stations. “What better way to spend some daddy-daughter time on a Friday?” Jeff Tishgart laughs. “It was all Sidney’s idea. She came up with the concept and it took about two or three weeks because I’m handy-illiterate.”
He continued, “We’re going to party all day and even hit the after-party this evening, 'cause that’s how we roll!”
Through 7 p.m. Friday, check out local merchants, food trucks, nonprofits, artists, musicians, and individuals who love the Earth all along Main Street.
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