If you’ve driven near the court square any time in the past two weeks, chances are that you’ve definitely seen it: two hundred bright orange ribbons forming a temporary pavilion in the artPARK. It’s catching a lot of attention, and I want to tell you more about it today.
We call this structure “Meeting Room,” and it is a collaborative effort of the Pomerene Center for the Arts and Ohio State University Extension. The project was made possible by an Ohio Arts Council ArtsNext grant and matching funds from the Pomerene Center Community Arts Fund through the Coshocton Foundation.
At the 2018 Coshocton County Fair we sought input from the public on the design for the structure. The design that received the most votes was by the firm Behin Ha. They won a competition in New York City with that design which was built on Governors Island. Architect, Behrang Behin, agreed to lead our project and create a different design especially for our space in the artPARK. I’m incredibly grateful for his investment in our community. It’s not every day that a super talented (and equally humble) graduate of Yale University and Harvard University School of Design comes from New York City to Coshocton to lead a creative effort.
Materials were provided by Snyder Manufacturing in Dover, a manufacturer of high-performance laminated fabrics, PVC coated mesh, and other materials. The “ribbons” are the edges cut from one of these products that is typically recycled. So we gave these “rocket red” scraps a little more life and purpose before that happens.
Sixteen volunteers from across the community assisted with the construction on May 31 and June 1. These volunteers were from the Coshocton Kiwanis, United Way, OSU Extension, Coshocton Regional Medical Center, Hasseman Marketing, and other individuals who wanted to be involved in the project.
One of our outreach objectives at OSU Extension is community development. The University of Kentucky Extension identified growing the fine arts as a key to development in many rural Kentucky counties. This inspired me to further explore this area of involvement in our community. The cornerstone philosophy for this project is that when we work creatively together through the building process we collectively develop and promote social capital. It’s when we contribute to our community that we feel like we belong to our community.
Another aspect of this public art piece is that it is not permanent. Resiliency requires a creative process of building and rebuilding and this piece is reflective of that. Everyone is encouraged to use this space to meet as community groups, families and friends throughout the summer months. The space can be reserved at meetingroomartpark.setmore.com and tables and chairs can be provided. The structure will be available for use through Labor Day.
If you have not checked out the artPARK yet, or if it’s been a while since you’ve been in the space, we hope that you will come to Main Street and take some time to enjoy this amazing piece of community built public art. We also encourage you to bring a group to meet here. It just might change the way you think. It’s a good thing to get out of our normal routine and get into a different environment.
This article appeared in the Coshocton Tribune on Sunday, June 9, 2019