A New Variation and Theme

July 23rd, 2011 : : : : Tag Words:

Stored Potential 2 kicked off earlier this month with a whole new set of submissions spanning the gamut of ‘Transport(ation)’ – from fun and wacky to critical and informative – a likewise new jury had their work cut out for them. For 9-hours in the back gallery at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 4 jurors narrowed down submissions in a blind process to 16 short-listed entries with the most time spent talking about Trains. Trains of 2011 are the Corn of 2010, in every possible medium and representation. There is no doubt in our minds that Omaha is a solid train town. The surprise of the day was a lack of entries dealing with bicycles – only 1 or 2 total – despite Omaha’s recent bicycle advocacy surge. Regardless, the shortlisted entries lean towards a representation of ‘networks’, both real and abstract, man-made and natural, and in general are more complex than last years, and almost all shortlisted artists and designers are local.

Now the challenging work begins of doing 1:1 mock ups of the shortlist to determine which ones will print best at this scale. This past week saw the first, and most challenging, mock-up with success and next week will see more. It has been exciting to start meeting a new group of artists – our favorite part of this process. Last years artists have turned into some of our closest friends and colleagues. Once the mock up process is further along, we will begin blogging about each final image, idea, and artist. Meanwhile, thank you Omaha for your participation in this project. We look forward to a new fall face on the grain elevator.

10 Days

June 28th, 2011 : : : : Tag Words:

Ten days ago, 40+ community and arts supporters filled a board room on the 7th floor of Omaha City Hall to voice opinion through physical presence. Ten minutes later, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-0 in favor of expanding the grain elevator banners on the topic of Transport(ation). The room erupted in applause, and the previous months meeting that left the project in a lurch, was reversed. It was an occasion and moment perhaps less about grain elevator banners, and more about shifting things slightly enough to represent the type of projects, and therefore city, we desire. Thank you to those who worked behind the scenes to compose letters of support, those who took a break in their workday to be present at the meeting, and to those who sat at the table with us in favor and support of continuing, and completing, the project.

Ten days from now, the call for submissions for Stored Potential 2 comes to a close. Both submissions and questions have been trickling in, and the jury is composed and ready to represent big ideas in graphic, spatial, and city design.  We look forward to receiving and considering all of your visions and ideas for the most crucial and timely topic at hand.  Good luck!

Continuing Potential

June 5th, 2011 : : : : Tag Words:
Photo by Bryce Bridges Photography

It has been 8 months since our last post, just a few days after the epic dinner in October. Sometimes a climax needs to be honored, and allowing that post to remain at the top was the honorable thing to do. Hopefully that event has solidified in minds, and everyone involved are now rested and recovered. Several of the chefs have escalated their restaurants to new heights, farmers have taken on more land, new organizational relationships have formed. And now we dream of what’s next.

Meanwhile, the banners remain a topic of conversation. Will they stay? Will they go? How long will they last? What do they really mean? How do we change ordinances so more projects like this can happen in our city? Can more banners be added to finish the whole west side?

Yes, they will stay. We have heard you, and very much appreciate the support the community has shown. Some neighbors had concern with the lighting and increased foot traffic. We have addressed these and will continue to monitor.

The current banners will stay for the life of the material, as determined by the Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this year. Because this project is unprecedented, and the images are not actually ‘signage’ but art, figuring out how to manage them within the public process has been a new challenge for everyone.

The banners do have meaning beyond their beautification and it has been fun to hear people discover and discuss them. The intent of this project is to see everyday parts of our city anew with possibility and to initiate conversation.

Yes, we are going to add 12 more to finish the whole west side, thanks to support from the Omaha Venture Group. The current banners will be moved to the northernmost silos, and the new images on the topic of Transport(ation) will be installed where the current ones are. This also provides opportunity to UV coat the current panels for a longer lifespan.

We did hit a snag with the Zoning Board of Appeals a couple weeks ago in acquiring approval to add these new banners. We will go before them again on June 16 for a final vote and are meanwhile launching the competition as planned. We are gathering letters of support from public entities and agencies, and would like to invite the community to that meeting to show support not only for this project, but as a voice for a creative and innovative city.

June 16, Zoning Board of Appeals Monthly Meeting
1819 Farnam Street (City Hall), Room 702
Noon: Soup Revolution will be serving lunch near City Hall Plaza, let’s eat together!
1:00 Meeting begins

Meanwhile, download the Call for Entries, and start working on your submission……………