Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top Ten NO COST Plaza Possibilities

To paraphrase Tina Turner, “now that we’ve found the Plaza, what are we going to do with it?”

Rest assured we have big events planned: Summer Concerts with Community Celebrations; Jazz Festival; Thanksgiving Parade… But, what happens day-to-day on the Plaza?... How can we come together and activate this new public square in a way that reflects of our community – and is welcoming of all?

No government initiative can do this. No institution or organization can be expected to solely lead the charge… No one person can lead... This is something that must grow organically, from within the community, for the community, by the community.

In the short time since the Plaza opened, we’ve seen two great examples of possibilities (see #1 and #2 below.)… We’ve come up with a list of other possibilities; but, these are just “one person’s opinion”… What is YOUR idea?... How can YOU make it happen?... And, to paraphrase Nike: “Just do it”!

1. Performormances by local talent on the Portico Silver Spring Town Center Inc., together with Round House Theatre, organized 5 hours of free entertainment for the Opening Ceremony of the Civic Building at Veterans Plaza. They were able to get over 10 acts to come perform free of charge.

2 Drumming Circles IMPACT Silver Spring has invited the community to come ‘drum’ every Saturday night at 7pm. Last Saturday, there were was quite a crowd drumming, dancing, and clapping away; making beautiful noise and joyfully engaging each other.

3 Poetry Reading

4 Acoustic guitar playing

5 Free style dance/movement

6 Group exercise / fitness workout

7 Topical conversations

8 Open air debate / soap box opportunities

9 Board game playing (chess, checkers, dominoes, cards)

10 Hang out

Other ideas? Chime in and become a follower of this blog to see what others are saying... or better yet, come out to the Plaza and 'do your thing'!


tony hausner said...

Open air classes, book groups

Anonymous said...

Tai Chi demonstrations

WashingtonGardener said...

- sponsored movie showings
- craft/art for ALL ages (esp seniors)
- lectures by professors on area history, art, etc.

Stuart said...

Skateboard competition/skillz demonstration

Tina said...

I love the chess, checkers, board games idea!! Something for *all* ages.

Fitness to Funky music would be fun too --- would be fun to video tape it and show it on a large screen as well for those "sitting" to see! We can all (well most of us) use a workout on our waistlines.

And what about ethnic or special dance performances -- maybe one night per week or per month. This could encompass so many of the community groups we have.

Another idea that comes to mind is high school band, drill team, cheerleading performances (thinking the 4th of July parade). Let's get the young people involved.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

As Dan Reed wrote on his Just Up The Pike blog, skateboarding is the square's biggest activity and visitor attraction. So I say skateboarding, including skateboarding lessons for little kids.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Lessons on how to enjoy skateboarding without causing damage to surfaces or landscaping.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Terry, any positive adult interaction with these kids would be a good thing -- they get very little of that downtown, regardless of what they're doing.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Interaction is a matter of perception, Skater Mom. Go there with a chip on their shoulders, expecting to looked down upon, that's what they'll sense. Go there and damage the surfaces of a plaza that just opened and derision is what they deserve. The ones who aren't damaging things could use their influence with their peers, couldn't they?

Stuart said...

> Lessons on how to enjoy skateboarding without
> causing damage to surfaces or landscaping.

@Terry: It is indeed practicable to design and build parks to support the physical demands and acoustic effects of skateboarding, while also accommodating non-skateboarding uses. There are a number of companies that provide public park design services of this cross-over sort. But, Veterans Plaza was not designed for skateboarding, so it is no wonder that damage would occur.

Of course, there are other activities that the Plaza was not designed for. It isn't a good space to kick a ball around, or practice chip shots (and I don't mean Chip Py photography haha), or lie down on the ground.

@Reemberto: You can still sponsor occasional, scheduled skating competitions/skill demonstrations without destroying the park. I think that would show a sensitivity to inclusion while limiting the adverse effects of the park's design limitations.

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