Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Normal Uptown Station Art

There was some concern expressed about spending so much money on art for the Uptown Station. I happened to read an article that discusses the benefits of public art, presenting examples of how it can attract attention (and dollars). But the examples focus on art external to buildings -- murals and neon lights. Art inside the Uptown Station will probably not attract that kind of attention. It will, however, provide a nice environment for travellers and give local artists a chance to share their work. Maybe the clock on the corner of the station will attract attention.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Normal: Attention, You Are Here!

This is an interesting article about how people are paying more attention to their smart phones than to what's around them when they are out in public spaces. We already knew that. The immediate effect is a loss of interpersonal contact with people around you and a loss of attention to your immediate surroundings. But what about long-range effects? If people don't attend to their surroundings in public spaces, why care about them? Why support or protest local government making changes to them, such as all of the improvements made to the Uptown Normal area? Why participate in events, such as the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, that take place in them?

I think we're gradually losing a sense of connection with and ownership of our public spaces. This doesn't bode well for the future of those spaces. And if someone creates an "app" that "connects" people to the physical environment when they are out in public spaces, well, that's just silly. Put away the phone and look around you. You don't need an app for that.