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The Arts Park will transform downtown

Photo courtesy The Arts Center Numerous annuals are seen blooming in the Arts Park during the summer months in downtown Jamestown.

By John Zvirovski, for The Sun

Eight years ago next month, the building that stood on the corner of First Avenue and Second Street Southwest burned to the ground, causing the loss of a historic building in Jamestown. It left a gaping hole in its downtown.

A year and a half later, the Arts Center acquired the property with the future plans of creating an Arts Park. Not just for art and the center itself, but also as a downtown gem that the entire community can appreciate, use and become proud of as a central gathering point for our city.

During the past five years, grass, trees, temporary pathways and flower beds have been incorporated to encourage people to enter the space to enjoy, not only for a place to sit, but also as a location like no other in our downtown setting.

Like the beautiful hanging baskets that line our main street, people are beginning to appreciate the beauty that can be achieved in our central business district. This space has the potential to become the central gathering space that ties everything together.

Many people are confused by the idea of what an Arts Park entails; however, in the next few months people will become more familiar with the details of what it can ultimately become for the community.

An Arts Park is intended to display works of art in all shapes and forms. Art could be a sculpture, a style of an outdoor light fixture, the creation of shadows through various types of lighting, the textures and materials used for walkways, the style of retaining walls and their lines or curves throughout the space or even a type of bench where people can relax. Art isn’t always just something to look at but can also be something useful.

Trees, bushes, annuals, perennials and grasses used in landscape designs are also works of art; it just happens to be a different medium. From the time you plant a seed to the time it matures — in some cases many years — the plant world is an ever-changing canvas of art in our lives. Many of us take these elements for granted as we are around these features almost on a daily basis. But when you sit back and take a moment, you will discover that nature’s canvas continues to paint an evolving picture.

In the last few years, the current Arts Park has slowly evolved into a place where people can come sit and enjoy an afternoon lunch during their busy days. Art classes are offered through the Arts Center to bring people into the space to sketch or paint elements of the flower beds. On some days pottery is created in the park or natural materials are gathered to create an earthy mosaic. On the weekends, it has been used for cultural festivals, picnics and lectures for the public to enjoy. It is becoming a place for people in the community to gather and feel like a part of their urban setting within a comforting green space.

The next phase is about to begin in the upcoming year where this space will become a place of permanence. The new and final design will have distinguished edges, gathering spots for people, an abundance of ever-changing color, artwork and the dynamics of a cultural flare for our community. The beginning of this phase also reaches out to the public for support and opinions of what it desires for a downtown Arts Park.

Maybe you want to just sit and relax on the lawn, or maybe you would enjoy a small outdoor gathering of music. You might want to have a variety of food choices to enjoy on a weekly basis that you could enjoy within the space. Some people might enjoy large pieces of artworks, sculptures, fountains or murals. There exists a large wall that could be used as a blank canvas for a multitude of things. Some people may enjoy an evening watching a movie outdoors and others may just enjoy maintaining the beautiful flower beds and inhaling their incredible aromas on a cool and damp summer evening. The possibilities are endless.

Now is your chance to think about this space and let us know your thoughts and ideas. When coming up with ideas, think about how this space can integrate additional beautification in our downtown setting while encouraging growth and revitalization in the future. Think about how it can encourage more people to enjoy our central space through various gatherings. Come up with programming ideas that you would enjoy partaking in through the Arts Center that can be offered in this space. Envision the overall type of flair or style you would like to see used throughout the park. When coming up with these ideas, keep in mind that this space should encourage our community to enjoy a central site in our downtown, in which we truly need to revitalize as a social location both on a personal and business level. 

Be an integral part of this new development and share your thoughts and ideas with us so we can guarantee a beautiful setting for all to enjoy. This may seem like a small location, but it has huge potential to be the initiating catalyst of a new and vibrant downtown. Share your ideas and thought by emailing them to Na turesskyline@hotmail .com or stop by the Arts Center and tell one of the staff members your suggestion. This will be an area used by the community, so we would like everyone’s ideas before making the final design plans a reality. Be a part of our future and become involved in this new project — an Arts Park for the Jamestown community for today and beyond.