Friday, May 9, 2008
Artist’s Statement for Washington Park Project
For the past 4 months I have been compiling and taking many photos, videos and random images in hopes to create a media archive. Now that I have well over 500 photos of Washington Park and the Surrounding Lisbon Avenue neighborhood I finally feel like the project is finally complete.
Our group took it upon ourselves to create a project entirely about Washington Park. This beautiful old park in the heart of the city has gone from a wonderful social gathering spot to a now almost deserted plot of green space. Within our project we wanted to show the history of Washington Park, the reasoning behind the desolation currently and we wanted to see how the residents use the park today versus in the past.
Upon entering the park for the first time we were all speechless. We had understood that this was a massive park but I believe only Nathan knew parts of its true history. Upon entering this park you feel its significance. This park means something, from the lake to the Urban Ecology Center, or from the Temple of Music all the way to the playground Washington Park is a crucial part of the survival of its community residents and Milwaukee.
For my individual project I wanted to take more visual look at how the residents utilize or under utilize the Washington Park space in the past and in the present day. After compiling and taking many photos I came to the same conclusion that my group and many residents have said, Washington Park is very “underutilized.” The lack of government funding and the overall low interest from the community around the park has led to many years of neglect.
A park that went from acres upon acres of open space used for a Zoo, Racetrack, Lake, and many other activities to a park with few bathrooms, a dirty lake, a temple of music that is rarely used, basketball courts, and a baseball diamond that has more birds on it than children playing. From my observations I found that to my surprise fishing was a big activity for young urban children in the neighborhood. Many of the residents I met while in the park said that they rarely come to Washington Park because its full of gangs and drugs. Also from my observations I didn’t really see that side of Washington Park. I truly feel to this day that Washington Park just had gotten a bad reputation over the years and now the park is suffering from that reputation. During the summer is when the park obviously gets the most use mostly on the Basketball courts. They do have boat rentals available for people who want to paddle boat on the lake but unfortunately the water is very dirty and people are almost unable to swim in it. The pool apparently gets lots of traffic during the summer. This underutilized park is an important asset to Milwaukeeans and many people would like to have some amount of money invested back into the park to rebuild it and to reclaim Washington Park as one of Milwaukee’s Hidden treasures.
I was very happy in the way that this project has turned out. I feel that all of the residents that I met shared that same mentality that this is a wonderful park but they would love to see some money invested in it to make it great once again. The underutilization of this park is just another obstacle in the way of those who are attempting to rebuild this beaten up section of Milwaukee. Organizations such as LAND and others are struggling enough that having to rebuild this park must come from the government.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The first question I seek to ask is,
Why do people currently come to Washington Park?
-The Swimming Pool
Why have people come to Washington Park throughout Milwaukee's History?
-Music Under the Stars
-The Milwaukee County Zoo
-The Largest Park in all of Milwaukee
to be continued...