By Nancy Hahn
First Friday on June 1 will include the huge celebration of the opening of the ArtLine. The opening will be celebrated with a block party on Lakewood Place between Reed and Pierce streets. Food trucks, children’s creative activities, a scavenger hunt, a dinosaur flash mob (yes, absolutely), live music and a bike parade are some of the wild happenings to celebrate and show off the new ArtLine. Maps of the ArtLine, including details about the art and artists will be available. Seriously, a dinosaur flash mob, too!
The bright green-painted line on sidewalks – the ArtLine – guides visitors along the 4-1/2 mile route from one park with activities and artwork to the next park. Aviation Park at 1900 Teller Ave., Mountair Park at 5620 W. 14th Ave., and Walker-Branch Park at 5825 W. 16th Ave., are the parks on the ArtLine.
New art inspired by the character of each park and created by area artists is being installed at each park. Each park will also have a huge dinosaur-inspired and -sized piece of art installed in May. These fantastic, imagination-stirring, dinosaur-sized pieces of art must be seen to be believed. These installations are clearly art, inspired by dinosaurs. They are not dinosaur statues, though. This makes them perfect for the Art District and for the imaginations of visitors of every age.
Unless weather interferes, the ArtLine is expected to be completed by the third week of May. Sidewalk murals, designed by area artists are also in the process of being added for an extra bit of fun. These murals are often games, as well as, colorful art. Checking out the murals makes walking the line between parks full of fun.
Creating the ArtLine was a real group effort. A large group of volunteers and community members met to develop the ideas and plans for the ArtLine, and walked the route. Others expressed their opinions online. Suggestions for benches, so older walkers or tired children could rest were made, for example.
Lakewood mayor Adam Paul conducted two Mayor’s Walks of what was then called the Arts Loop in the fall of 2016. The suggestions made by the walkers and bicyclists on those walks contain many of the ideas that are being used in the ArtLine. The walkers suggested functional art, like benches and trash cans. Many spots now have benches and trash cans, some decorated with artwork.
Participants of the Mayor’s Walks thought that parts of the walk could be more interesting with added color, texture or patterns. They would like something to do along the route, like games or interactive art. They will enjoy the sidewalk murals and the new art work. They also felt wayfaring features were needed. The ArtLine has not only the line itself, but green-and-white signs along the route.
The ArtLine took time from conception to completion. The unique and stunning art, the playful activities, and the shady rests along the way make the time well-spent and the ArtLine a perfect addition to the Art District.