Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free City Preview: Chevy Futures Visioning Workshop Saturday April 27

Chevy 5

Los Angeles-based artist and urban planner James Rojas usually begins one of his Visioning Workshops carrying a big box. Inside are hundreds of colorful, quirky objects – poker chips, feathers, plastic eggshells, board game pieces - that he spreads out on the largest tables he can find. He then asks everyone in the room to take as many of these materials as they want to build their own small-scale model representing their ideal version of a place – it could be a park, a neighborhood, an entire city, or a vacant industrial site like Chevy-in-the-Hole.

“It’s all about sparking people’s imaginations,” Rojas says. “When people start working with these playful objects, and start building three-dimensional models, they usually come up with ideas they wouldn’t have thought of just by talking or writing down notes.”

Rojas first brought his workshops to Flint last fall for the Congress for Urban Transformation (CUT), Flint Public Art Project’s conference on urban revitalization strategies. More than 200 people of all ages participated in nearly a dozen workshops over the course of three days – including a group of 50 people who met at Kettering University to brainstorm short-term activities that could reclaim Chevy-in-the-Hole. Some of the ideas that came out of that workshop – including movie screenings, music performances, and biking – will be on the program during Free City.

Rojas will offer a 3-hour workshop from on Saturday April 27, asking people to envision what they want Chevy-in-the-Hole to become in the long-term. He will then build a large-scale model showing the many ideas people contributed that will be on display during the festival May 3 – 5.

“I’m very excited to come back to Flint and to the Chevy site. There’s so much potential there – I can’t wait to see what people come up with.”

Catch the Chevy Visions workshop Saturday, April 27 from 3 – 6 pm at Chevy-in-the-Hole.