Park(ing) Day: Downtown envisions parking spots for people, not their cars

— Asia Morris (@hugelandmass) September 20, 2019

For Park(ing) Day, a worldwide revisioning of urban public space, a host of Downtown-based entities collaborated to reimagine parking spots #99 and #97 out front of the Edison Theater for people instead of cars. Pedestrians were pleasantly surprised to find a place to sit down and eat their lunches in what resembled a patio, already busy with the artists, movers and shakers involved with making the project happen.

Even if just for a day, Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s new Placemaking Manager Mariah Hoffman, said she wanted to create an area that would bring people together, provide a moment of peace from the urban environment while showcasing local talent in a relevant and imaginative way. Pause at the Art Parklet is the first project Hoffman has spearheaded since starting at the DLBA in March.

Recent POW! WOW! Long Beach muralist Cynthia Lujan (you may have seen her 100-something-foot mural inside the parking garage on Third Street) translated her obsession with urban symbology onto parking signs donated by Long Beach Public Works and painted the word “rest” in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and English, overlayed with the outlines of lilies on the wooden panels separating parklet attendees from the street.

The lilies are often used for rites of passage including funerals, said Lujan, her renderings of them calling attention to pedestrian deaths; lilies also suggest the souls of the deceased are at rest, she shared earlier in the week. The flowers also coincided with contemporary florist Lizbeth Molina’s installation integrated into the canopy above, as well as the idea behind Intertrend’s The Art of Bloom—the immersive installation at the Edison Theater just across the sidewalk.

The parklet shielded visitors from Broadway traffic and provided some rest from traversing the busy Downtown street.

Mariah Hoffman, Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s Placemaking Manager, sits with guests during Park(ing) Day on Broadway in front of the Edison Theater in Long Beach Friday, September 20, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Local Artist Cynthia Lujan paints as part of Park(ing) Day on Broadway in front of the Edison Theater in Long Beach Friday, September 20, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

No Parking signs make up as part of Cynthia Lujan’s painting for Park(ing) Day on Broadway in front of the Edison Theater in Long Beach Friday, September 20, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Flowers hang overhead as part of Park(ing) Day on Broadway in front of the Edison Theater in Long Beach Friday, September 20, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

 

 

 

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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