If you’re still scrambling for gifts this holiday season, why not give the gift of urban change? Kickstarter has a number of projects that are looking to improve city landscapes and communities by beautifying unused spaces, promoting local art, building a network of urban bee apiaries, and forming new community nodes that foster creativity. So for those looking for a gift that keeps on giving this year,
Silent Lights is a public art project in Red Hook, New York that aims to install a series of temporary gates that frame a pedestrian pathway in an area blighted by traffic from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. By day, the architecture will show constant movement through the shadows of passing cars, while at night, the noise will be picked up by microphones and converted into patterns of light produced by glowing LEDs embedded in the gates. As noise increases, the light from each gate will intensify.
The gates will not only bring a new work of public art for the community but also provide a safer commute between Red Hook and its nearest point of public transportation, a subway stop on Smith and 9th Streets. The group behind the project, Artist Build Collaborative, will also be collaborating with IT consultant Control Group and the Red Hook Initiative to create a platform that introduces design, technology, and physical computing to local teens, who will be producing their own programs to test on the actual installation. You can also take home a set of coasters or votive candles for your philanthropy. Visit their Kickstarter page here.
The Luminary Center of the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri is looking to purchase a new 22,500-square-foot space in a former variety store on Cherokee Street, St. Louis. The hope is to expand their program of concerts and exhibits and provide on-site housing and studios for international artists-in-residence, and classroom and workshop space for public programs.
The Center opened in 2007 and quickly developed into a world-class cultural organization, securing works from the MoMA and the Guggenheim for temporary exhibitions and hosting international artists from 15 countries across 5 continents. However, plagued by the limits of the architecture of their original building, the staff found it difficult to maximize the reach of the Center. The group found a new, more accessible space at a storefront on Cherokee Street, and they are now looking to purchase and fully renovate the building to create a new center for one of the most vibrant up-and-coming arts communities in the world. More instant gratification: pledgers can receive limited edition t-shirts, tote bags, and other swag. Visit their Kickstarter page here.
The ArtUp program animates underutilized spaces on the Lower East Side through public art and community partnerships. Last year, they turned a series of construction site dumpsters, scaffolding bridges, and vacant spaces into street-side galleries exhibiting local artwork. As the Lower East Side is quickly gentrifying, ArtUp hopes to preserve the culture and community identity by beautifying transitional or new spaces with public art. Your support will help continue these exhibitions and programs, providing necessary funding for artist materials and fees, curation and management, community press and outreach, and new public programs. Pledgers can also snag great gifts like limited edition prints and original artwork. Visit their Kickstarter page here.
Mad Urban Bees, one of the first urban apiaries in the country, is changing Madison, Wisconsin. Help expand a local beekeeping business, keep the environment healthy, and keep that artisanal honey flowing by supporting this urban beekeeping effort, which aims to purchase and outsource 40-50 new hives to local businesses and residents in the Madison metropolitan area. Backyards, back lots and rooftops of local bee advocates will become new centers for our pollinating friends, keeping the ecosystem and the urban food landscape of Madison flourishing. And the instant gratification here? Jars of light, floral and spicy urban honey of course! Visit their Kickstarter page here.