Oct 25

New Public Piano Downtown

Posted on October 25, 2017 at 2:35 PM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Light Up the World Public Piano
A new piece of playable art is on its way to downtown Eugene!

The donated piano will be painted on the first floor of the Atrium building and then installed in the Park Blocks for the Nov. 17 Light Up Downtown tree lighting event. The piano will be available for the public to play through mid-December.

Local artist David Placencia will use a unique bubble paint technique to transform the piano into a work of art. His theme is “Light Up the World: A New Time of Unity”, and his design features colorful ribbons spiraling from an oval Mayan calendar. The public is invited to watch him at work on the first floor of the Atrium building (10th and Olive) from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, 3, 6 and 13. Examples of Placencia’s past work can be seen at khaostasis.com.

The piano will be the City of Eugene's third piece of playable public art this year. The first two pianos, stationed this past summer outside the Downtown Public Library and the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, were extensively enjoyed by musicians and audiences. Both pianos currently reside in Eugene Rec community centers to delight patrons during the rainy months.

The playable art program gives musicians the opportunity to share their talents and the public the chance to enjoy live music in a non-traditional setting. The pianos also serve as temporary works of public art, painted and collaged by talented local artists chosen to bring more color to downtown’s core. Similar programs exist in many cities throughout the country. For information about the Portland program, visit pianopushplay.com.
Aug 17

Volunteers Needed to Evaluate Downtown

Posted on August 17, 2017 at 11:26 AM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Broadway Plaza Lunchtime

Can you give a few hours of your time to help evaluate downtown?

We need your help with “Activity Mapping” to gauge how, when and where people are engaging with downtown public spaces. The results will help to measure progress toward more vibrant public spaces and to plan for the future of downtown. More details here

Volunteers are asked to commit to a one hour training and a minimum of three 1-hour sessions of Activity Mapping (4 hours total). 

Sign up online to choose when and where you’d like to provide support. Thank you for your help in making downtown more safe and welcoming for all!
Jul 18

Parklets & Pop-Up Retail

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 11:11 AM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

PinYOUGene perspective parklet
Parklet winner pinYOUgene by Cameron McCarthy (Larry Gilbert and others)

The four winners of the 2017 Design-Build Parklet competition have been announced! The winning designs are scheduled to be built and installed on Broadway and Olive Streets in time for Eugene Sunday Streets on July 30. The finished Parklets will also be featured destinations for the August 4 First Friday Mural Tour.

A parklet converts a parking space into a small seating area or green space. The competition was part of an initiative by Eugene's parking service Epark and the AIA Southwestern Oregon Chapter to increase the pedestrian presence and community involvement in downtown Eugene.

See all competition submissions

Framing Parklet
Parklet winner Framing Parklet by Propel Studio (Sam Sudy and Lucas Gray)

Pop-Up Retail
Starting on July 30, three pop-up retail spaces, called EUGPop!, will add color and commerce to Olive Street between Broadway and 10th Avenue. The small shops fashioned from storage containers will feature local designers, creators and artists, and will be open through August 18.

Two local vendors will be introduced in the pop-up units. Threadbare Print House will be featuring their mobile print-cycle and will be creating silkscreen t-shirts on site as well as offering a large selection of T-shirt designs from their collection. The University of Oregon (UO) Product Design will have creations from students and staff including handcrafted contemporary furniture, ceramics and home goods.

The pop-up units will be located in front of 942 Olive, home of UO Product Design and RAIN Eugene, our local Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network. They will also be next to one of the new parklets coming to downtown that was designed by PIVOT Architecture.

Pop Up Retail
Pop-Up Retail Example from Cleveland, OH

Rendering of Pop-Up Retail on Olive St. in Eugene
Jul 18

Vibrant Eugeneans

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 10:55 AM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Parkpoom Aempoo
Parkpem Aempoo: "On a nice day there's nothing better than going downtown and playing some tunes with your friends. Sharing the appreciation of swing music with a passerby is a fulfilling and sometimes could turn into a full blown sidewalk dance party."

Meet the Vibrant Eugeneans

Downtown Eugene is full of fascinating people, each with a story to tell, a memory to share or a piece of advice to give.

We know you don’t have time to meet them all, so we’re bringing some of them to you throughout the summer. Read what people who live, work and play downtown think about their community, as told to photographer Athena Delene.

And stay tuned over the next few months for more faces of downtown Eugene!
Jul 18

Eugene Walls: Mural Magic

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 10:51 AM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Acidum Project
Acidum Project (Brazil), 2016
Mural on Broadway Alley between Willamette & Olive (Cowfish)

You won't want to miss this week of street art extravaganza by internationally-renowned muralists!

Eugene Walls, presented by the 20x21 EUG Mural Project, features international artists Blek le Rat (France), Telmo Miel (Netherlands), Hyuro (Argentina/Spain), JAZ (Argentina/Spain), Hush (United Kingdom), Dan Witz (USA) and Oregon artist Ila Rose.

In addition to watching the artists at work in several downtown locations from July 29 - Aug 4, we invite the public to join us at these special events:
  • Sun, July 30, 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Eugene Sunday Streets kicks off the week with the new EUG Parade followed by walking, biking, rolling and playing in the car-free downtown streets. More info
  • Wed, August 2, 6:30 p.m.: Meet the muralists at a reception at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and stay for a free outdoor film. More info
  • Fri, August 4, 5:30 p.m.: Lane Arts Council hosts a First Friday Mural Tour followed by an outdoor EUGfun! concert. The First Friday Mural Tour, hosted by Paul Godin of the 20x21 EUG Mural Project, begins at 5:30pm at the intersection of West Broadway and Charnelton. Then, EUGfun! is closing down the streets at the same intersection to host two concerts. Tony Glausi with accompanying band, will play from 6-7:30 p.m., and Portland-based Chanti Darling, self-described as “future funktified post R&B(oogie),” will take the stage from 8-10 p.m. More info
Look for an insert in the July 27 edition of the Eugene Weekly with a map of all the mural locations and bios about the artists.

Plus, check out the first four murals that have already been completed as part of the 20x21 EUG Mural Project:
  1. Acidum Project (Brazil): Broadway Alley between Willamette & Olive (Cowfish)
  2. Beau Stanton (USA): 1010 Willamette St. (McDonald Theatre)
  3. Steven Lopez (USA): 254 Lincoln St. (Wildcraft)
  4. Hua Tunan (China): 411 West 4th Avenue (Vistra)
See you downtown for some mural magic July 29 - August 4!

Jun 29

Playable Art Comes to Downtown

Posted on June 29, 2017 at 11:43 AM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Piano Push Play, photo by Benji Bao Vuong
Community piano from Piano Push Play, Portland, OR
Photo: Benji Bao Vuong

Playable art is soon to become a feature outside both the Downtown Public Library and the Hult Center!

Come watch two donated pianos turn into downtown's latest works of public art. Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 1, artist Jessilyn Brinkerhoff will be sanding and painting the piano outside of the Downtown Public Library with a design based on the Library’s summer reading theme, “Build a Better World”. The piano will remain outside the Library for the enjoyment of accomplished and aspiring musicians through September. Jessilyn is a local illustrator, graphic designer and muralist who works to bring fresh art to the walls of cities, schools and businesses.

Beginning the week of July 13, celebrated Eugene artist Mija Marie will use collage and mixed media to transform a piano located under the Seventh Avenue marquee of the Hult Center. The artistic theme of the piano is 1982 performance and pop culture in honor of the Hult Center's 35th anniversary this fall. Mija’s design is influenced by her delight in mixing mediums, the magical realism of her Mexican-American culture and her fervent love of everything ’80’s. The piano will be available for the public to play in between Mija’s work sessions and will remain outside the Hult Center through September.

Similar programs offering public outdoor pianos exist in many cities throughout the country. For information about the Portland, Ore. program, visit pianopushplay.com.
Jun 28

Life After Community Court: Shea's Story

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 3:24 PM by Sarah-Kate Sharkey

Shea in Community Restoration
Photo: Shea works on a Community Restoration project with other Community Court participants.

We recognize that coordinated services in our downtown are critical for helping those in need. Community Court helps people who have been cited in downtown move out of the criminal justice system and toward an improved quality of life through supervised community service and direct connections to social service providers.

We talk here with Shea, a recent graduate of Community Court, about his experience in the program.

Why did you opt into the Community Court program?
It was an opportunity for me to handle my minor charge for drinking a beer in public without it staying on my record. Had it been a regular ticket, I would have been charged a fine I couldn't pay and possibly even spend a couple days in jail. Community Court had representatives from all kinds of services in Eugene under one roof for you to talk to. I was referred to the folks from ShelterCare, which made it possible for me to get my housing through a Shelter Plus grant.
What challenges did you face in completing the program?
There was one time while in the program that I was caught again drinking beer outside, and I was scared that I ruined my chance at housing.  But thankfully, the lawyers and judge gave me a second chance and that was the last time I've had a ticket for ANYTHING downtown or elsewhere in Eugene.

What did you appreciate about Community Court?
Community Courts I’ve been to in other cities were "homeless" courts that singled out and discriminated against homeless folks. They were the only demographic of people you'd see in the court and they'd get fined or jailed or both. This is the first time I've seen the judicial system make an effort to give people an option to get a leg up if they wanted it, the first time I’ve seen this effort to decriminalize extreme poverty, mental illness and drug addiction.

Another awesome thing was that you didn't have to get in trouble to seek services. You could just walk in and ask to speak with someone based on your needs. It made me hopeful for other cities with similar issues and hopeful for others who would like the help.

What have you been up to since graduation?
I got my own apartment last month, and it feels good having a place to go at the end of the day. It was a surreal experience just to pour myself a bowl of cereal in my own apartment: for the past 20 years I haven’t had something like this.

I'm continuing to work on things I can do to raise my quality of life. I haven't hung out downtown as much. I've cut my drinking down considerably. I'm thinking about finding a new hobby or other activities that are healthier. I liked what Community Court was doing so much that I’ve started volunteering for it, to help other folks get their cases dismissed and connect them with providers. I'm getting set up with Vocational Rehab which, I believe, will help me find employment. I’m going to appointments with providers on my own. I’m looking for a couch for my apartment.

Long story short:  I'm doing me. Working on myself to make myself happier and stay that way.

Community Court needs volunteers to help support success for participants like Shea. Visit the website or email for more information.