Leading page of the Website of
Researcher, author and developer of the
Study Guides and Strategies Website
My proposal is one of 30 semi-finalists (!) of 946
ideas to Make (the City of) Saint Paul Great in the Saint Paul Foundation’s Forever Saint
Paul Challenge. I answered the question, “What would you do with $1 million
to make Saint Paul great?”
Urban Historical Markers, “Localmarks”:
Media Documenting Neighborhoods’ Past, Building Their Future
I will create a series of 200 “localmarks” or neighborhood historical markers that depict images and scenes of my city's past. These multi-layered digital images on ceramic tile and glass will inform both its citizens and visitors what that location looked like in days past. These will depict our earliest days of settlement, as well as recent events that have brought about significant changes to that location.
Each localmark will not only depict an image and short descriptive text, but also reference a “QR Code.” When the viewer points his/her digital device (smart phone, etc.) at the code, a Webpage appears with additional narrative content, whether stories, images, video, sound: descriptions that provide the visitor with a greater sense of that location’s continuous story as an urban environment. In addition, its Facebook page will provide participants with opportunities to further contribute, whether images, stories, or discussions.
Our localmarks go beyond public art, and are intended to make history accessible, demonstrating that these stories are products of men and women and their families coming together in local churches and schools, corner stores and local businesses, as well as organizations and social venues. Our urban journey references the work of Studs Terkel, James Agee and Walker Evans among others, documenting and illustrating the environment and lives of often invisible communities of citizens who built Saint Paul. Their daily life interactions created neighborhoods, and illustrate their sense of place, giving pause and reflection for what was and is.
Images’ sources not only include the archives of the city, historical societies, newspapers, non-profit organizations and commercial enterprises, but more importantly provide a communal opportunity for its residents, past and present, to provide content, and thus participate in the building of their local history. While research will be conducted or verified by accredited historians and archivists, our goal is to transform communities of interest into those of engagement in providing content, making people comfortable about sharing and publicizing their history. The content of images, as well as their WebPages, will reflect each one’s diversity and sense of time and place, with consistent branding and without regard to social or economic class, even historical distinction. Examples: a circa 1890 “smithy” on West 7th; the flooded river; great fires/demolitions destroying localmarks; immigration and generational stories in homes and the businesses they created; commercial intersections; school photos, athletic events, and even children who have risen to prominence.
The images themselves will be digitally and professionally enhanced and displayed on the markers, about three feet by two, horizontal or vertical, and fixed to exterior walls, interior public spaces, or mounted on stanchions at curbs, boulevards, etc. The ceramic medium, with custom high resolution images printed as glaze, is well-suited to withstand inclement weather and will not face in sunlight.
The project prioritizes “local” employment as well as capacity building for students of all ages. Local professionals digitally enhance and edit images, revise and edit content. Construction of the physical “frames” will draw on the talents of local artists, metal smiths, etc. Learning paths will provide opportunities to schools to intern students in the arts of content development, the means of making it public, and just as importantly gain awareness of the generations that preceded them
My faith community of seekers and pacifists. Twin Cities Friends
Meeting is basically non-creedal without clergy as we are all called
to minister to each other. We meet in silent worship.
Czech Slovak Sokol Minnesota
My neighborhood "immigrant" group. Sokol was founded in 1862 in Prague, and
in St. Paul in 1882 as a fitness society.
7th Federation/District 9 Community Council
End" neighborhood bordering the Mississippi River west of downtown St. Paul.
I actually grew up on the "other" side of the river, the West Side, though
it is really on the south side of the river here.
Democrat/progressive bordering on Socialist. More than a
family political heritage.
Alphie | Frisco | Tchaddie |
CC | Cyrus | Cali |
Bess | Maud