#ArtMyJozi: Place making through art

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has for a number of years been passionately engaged in producing Public Art on behalf of the City of Joburg, with the guidance and collaboration of the City’s Directorate of Arts, Culture and Heritage and with the support of the Department of Development Planning.

Through actively engaging with local communities and building on the heritage impact assessment studies conducted in the Development Corridors, the artworks programme has drawn out individual and collective narratives, through multidisciplinary workshops, public space activations and exhibitions.

     The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), as lead implementing agent of the City of Johannesburg, has appointed the Trinity Session as curator/co-ordinator for all place making processes: emphasising collective, community oriented artistic projects for the next three years. With an emphasis on community-level co-production and collective participatory design processes, the artworks programme seeks to breathe life into the streets of Johannesburg through a refreshed approach to place.
     The programme, dubbed ArtMyJozi, for 2017-2018 looks at the diverse and layered sociocultural interrelationships of the Empire/Perth and Louis Botha Development Corridors and their respective upgrade sites, which include: the Noordgesig, Brixton and Paterson Park social clusters, and the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit Stations along the Louis Botha Corridor.
     Through actively engaging with local communities and building on the heritage impact assessment studies conducted in the Development Corridors, the artworks programme has drawn out individual and collective narratives, through multidisciplinary workshops, public space activations and exhibitions. The creative outcomes of these workshops are in the process of being developed as final designs to be used during the implementation phases in each of the upgrade areas mentioned.

ArtMyJozi

     This place making process was a fine-grained approach to celebrating the city and its local communities, where the creative process worked to intensify the experience of community and place. The process followed by the JDA is not about artwork for large-scale iconic monuments but rather about local people co-producing special places through functional and creative installations in the public realm. In this sense, a local community street parade, coupled with a mural painting programme intersecting with sidewalk furniture providing shade and free Wi-Fi access, potentially enhances the logistics of connectivity and place making along the corridors.
     During July-August 2017, 23 public activations took place along the Transit Oriented Corridor, forming the basis of the initial research phase. Residents and commuters were welcomed to join a conversation about creative place making, providing the project with a wealth of special stories and insights, which will inspire the design and delivery of the next phase of the project.
     The programme for August, September and October was supported by social media campaigns, which served as both a documentary process and creative device in the development of creative content. The development of the #ArtMyJozi social media campaign was complemented by an on-the-ground poster campaign, provoking audience attendance and engagement, and a special media crew of poets, photographers and filmmakers’ collected special stories in and around the sites of activation.
     Community participation was encouraged at all levels of the process, in particular a cross pollination of ideas and experiences, underpinned by an awareness and enthusiasm for shared narratives and a celebration of new configurations of public expression in Johannesburg.

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