On Friday, September 20th the Winnipeg Arts Council and Urban Idea participated in the international Park(ing) Day festival. Happening in cities around the world, PARK(ing) Day is an annual event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. This year marked Winnipeg’s second annual Park(ing) Day event organized in conjunction with the Winnipeg Design Festival.

“The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat.

The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.” (http://parkingday.org/about-parking-day/)

Pop-Up Play

At our Park(ing) Day installation, we installed a piano and invited the public to transform the physical appearance of the piano with the guidance of a professional visual artist Takashi Iwasaki.

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“Play” was the key element of our installation, and we explored this in a number of ways. In addition to inviting the public to paint the piano, passers-by were also invited to give impromptu performances.

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A red carpet, red velvet ropes and theatre-style seating invited passers-by to sit and enjoy the spectacle.

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Using the piano as both a performance element and a canvas for a participatory art project, we invited the public to reimagine what is possible in public space. Pop Up Play allows us to ponder how else we can use our surroundings to create sites for generosity, cultural expression, socializing, and play.