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Art as Daily Experience in Ogden’s Nine Rails Creative District

May 21, 2022 by admin
Policy/Legislative

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of APAUT.

Starting in 2015, Ogden City and community stakeholders have been working to develop the Nine Rails Creative District. The Nine Rails district aims to use creative placemaking and public art to revitalize the area between Downtown Ogden and the adjacent East Central residential neighborhood. Goals for the district include developing a strong, vibrant connection between Downtown and East Central; creating new opportunities for the community to engage with art; and encouraging creative professionals to live and work in Nine Rails. The Nine Rails Creative District Master Plan was adopted in 2018, and Ogden City and its partners are now implementing the projects and programs identified in the plan.

As we’ve worked to develop the Nine Rails Creative District, one guiding principle has been to weave the arts into the daily Ogden experience. This principle was established in Ogden City’s Master Plan for Arts and Culture, and it has proven especially impactful in Nine Rails. The experience of art changes dramatically when it is encountered in the public realm, as part of everyday life – rather than in a museum or gallery. Art in the public realm can also reach a broader audience. In Nine Rails, we have intentionally brought art into the public realm throughout the planning process and project implementation. A few examples are described below.

First, while developing the Nine Rails Master Plan, we ran several pilot projects to test the concept of using public art to activate the area. MOMENTS Festival was a one-night event that featured light-based, performance, and other ephemeral art. It served as an expanded edition of Ogden’s usual First Friday Art Stroll; the art presented at MOMENTS led attendees past Historic 25th Street and into the Nine Rails district. Later in the master plan development, we deployed a tactical urbanism approach to paint large murals in several crosswalks. Volunteers from the community assisted in painting the murals, building a sense of ownership and engagement with the Nine Rails district.

Second, we embarked on the design of a new arts plaza in Nine Rails during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The design team, which included Sasaki Associates and Ogden-based firms IO LandArch and Union Creative Agency, sought a safe, creative way to request community input on the plaza design. Union Creative Agency developed the concept of a Welcome Fest – an outdoor, socially-distanced event to welcome the community to the space, invite input, and pilot the activities envisioned for the plaza. Music and dance performances, along with video projection art, attracted a large turnout and generated a lot of excitement about the future plaza.

Finally, the Dumke Arts Plaza, completed in December 2021, is an enduring public space designed to support major art installations right alongside arts programming led by the community. The inaugural exhibition, “Revive”, presents sculptures by renowned artist Chakaia Booker, curated by Weber State University. As the weather warms up, we look forward to opportunities for artists and arts organizations to host small concerts, dance performances, or film screenings at the plaza. The plaza is intended as a permanent platform to support an ever-evolving slate of artistic expression by our community.

We have seen the impact of making the arts part of the daily experience in Nine Rails – from driving community engagement in the planning process, to building a sense of place and civic pride, to supporting a wider variety of creative expression and opportunity. Ogden City’s role is to develop an environment that supports art in the public realm, but it is the individuals and organizations creating and sharing their artwork who are weaving an art experience into the fabric of Nine Rails. It is inspiring to see how Ogden creates and engages with art – and we look forward to all the creativity that is still to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article written by: Sara Meess, Ogden City Business Development Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nine Rails Creative District is just one part of Ogden’s burgeoning arts and culture scene. If you haven’t visited recently, there are many opportunities to experience the arts in Ogden coming up this summer. Check out a Twilight Concert at the Ogden Amphitheater, visit the Don Rimx murals along the Grant Promenade, attend the Ogden Arts Festival (June 12-13), or wander through the creative studios at the Monarch during a First Friday Art Stroll. You’ll be amazed at the creative energy humming through Ogden. For more information, visit https://www.visitogden.com/things-to-do/arts-culture/ or follow Ogden Arts on Instagram (@Ogden_Arts) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/OgdenCityArts).

 

 

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