Peoria brings placemaking project to Old Town

WHAM Art Association Executive Director Connie Whitlock, right, fills in the negative space while WHAM member Wayne Fodl paints in the ribbons of comedy and tragedy masks as part of an initiative by the city of Peoria to revitalize Old Town Peoria, March 21, at the intersection of 83rd Drive and Washington Avenue. [Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]

By Philip Haldiman
Independent Newsmedia

Some fresh color is coming Old Town Peoria’s way.

As part of the city’s placemaking initiative, Peoria is bringing artists and community members together to design and paint five intersections.

The first project has been completed by artists Connie Whitlock, executive director  of the WHAM Community Arts Center, and Margaret Lieu, Peoria Unified teacher, with assistance from high school students at the Peoria Flex Academy and Peoria Accelerated high school.

They painted the intersection at 83rd Drive and Washington Avenue, featuring the masks of comedy and tragedy in homage to the nearby Peoria Center for the Performing Arts.

“The goal is to engage the community in working together to create something that they can enjoy and to create a sense of pride for the community,” said Arts and Events Manager Marylou Stephens.

Creation of the artistic projects will continue throughout April, with two final projects slated to be complete in early May. Some traffic restrictions may apply:

  • April 12-14, 84th Avenue and Jefferson Street, artists Charith and Michael Denson and Arnold Guerrero
  • April 27-28, 84th Avenue and Washington Street, artists Martha Wolfe and Heather Young
  • April 28-May 2, 83rd Avenue and Washington Street, artist Melissa Zimmer
  • April 28-May 2, 83rd Avenue and Jefferson Street, artists Lance Linderman and Timmy Ham

Once these projects are completed, the city plans to host a community celebration to showcase the new art.

The project is a part of the city’s placemaking initiative intended to activate areas in Peoria that uplift and connect people. It is an aesthetic to attract businesses, residents and outsiders alike.

Ms. Stephens said some of the placemaking initiatives are part of the overall Old Town revitalization plan that has included free performances such as the Music on the Plaza series, monthly Food Trucks at the Distillery, as well as the Peoria Arts and Cultural Festival, March 30.

“The recent addition of a musical instrument park in Osuna Park is another example of placemaking that supports fun and interactive arts and cultural experiences,” she said. “Street painting has caught attention nationwide as a way to enhance the visuals of an area and bring the community together around a fun and engaging art project.”

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-6743 or phaldiman@newszap.com.

 

 

If you go
What: Peoria Arts & Cultural Festival
When: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Mar 30
Where: Johnny E. Osuna Memorial Park, 10510 North 83rd Ave.
Details: Celebrate Peoria’s heritage and its future, as students from Peoria Unified School District exhibit their artwork, perform dance routines and theater acts as well as choral and band presentations. For more information visit peoriaaz.gov/arts.

 

Colorful intersections
The painting of Old Town Peoria intersections will continue throughout April, with two final projects slated to be complete in early May. Once these projects are completed, the city plans to host a community celebration to showcase the new art. Some traffic restrictions may apply during the painting of these intersections:

  • April 12-14, 84th Avenue and Jefferson Street, artists Charith and Michael Denson and Arnold Guerrero
  • April 27-28, 84th Avenue and Washington Street, artists Martha Wolfe and Heather Young
  • April 28-May 2, 83rd Avenue and Washington Street, artist Melissa Zimmer
  • April 28-May 2, 83rd Avenue and Jefferson Street, artists Lance Linderman and Timmy Ham


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