For the last three Sundays something interesting has been happening on the streets of Hanover. Devised by the Hanover Action ‘StreetShare’ group (who were behind last year’s Grove Street:Play Street initiative) the Open Air Open House set up a temporary inside out art and gallery space at different locations around the area.
Working on the same sort of theme as last year, much of this was about transforming our streets to open possibilities. Accustomed to them being mostly for the movement and storage of cars – although this is a fairly modern phenomenon – it is quite hard to visualise them as something else or to see how things could be a little different.
A mock up representing an indoor room was created and local artist Rachel Cohen populated it with art works made on the go – but being an ‘inside out’ event, the items produced were decorated frames rather than the works which could sit within them.
Set up in the street, the group didn’t seek a road closure, and cars were not restricted – although a polite sign at the end of the road was 100% respected. To establish a space and make it OK to be on the roadway, AstroTurf was laid out in front of the pop up house – it marked out the event and made it easy for cars to pass as they needed.
One unexpected result of this was the massive amount of play that took place. Last year in Grove Street, this was a big part of the event and was planned for. This year just restricting through traffic and encouraging people to sit on the carriageway brought groups of up to 20 children at once onto and around the street, playing tag and sardines.
Wouldn’t it be great…
Aside from the art event, the comment that kept coming was “wouldn’t it be great if it could be like this all the time” – meaning the light touch closure and astoturf.
With very little movement of residents vehicles and considering that many of our streets are too narrow to properly accommodate through traffic, how about a grassed area toward the centre of the street with no through access for motor vehicles? It would calm the traffic, encourage play and social activities on the street and may also reduce parking demand….Certainly something to think about….
The final event in this programme will take place at another undisclosed Hanover location next Sunday – a Flashmob Popup gallery featuring your art. Bring out your works and follow the red thread!