Have you ever walked through Burlington City Hall Park and thought, This place is nice and all, but it could really use some more public art. Or maybe regular circus performances, or a public garden?
Now's your chance to voice your opinion; Burlington City Arts just received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to completely re-envision the park — and it wants to hear your ideas.
The grant, which is one of 51 awarded nationwide, is part of a new NEA initiative called Our Town, which aims to bring together "partners from the public and private sectors to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities."
BCA's partners include the City Hall Task Force, the Burlington Business Association, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Merchants Bank, Preservation Trust of Vermont, King Street Center and the city of Burlington, as well as landscape architects David Raphael of Landworks in Middlebury and Jeffrey Hodgson of the H. Keith Wagner Partnership in Burlington.
The first step in developing a master plan for the park, says BCA executive director Doreen Kraft, is engaging the community — and not just through traditional town meetings, but also with activities that are a little more, well, arty. During BCA's annual Festival of Fools next month, for example, the organization will set up a StoryCorps-style recording booth, in which people can share stories of their experiences in the park. "We want to hear about everything you've done there that's great — or foolish," says Kraft.
So, go ahead, let your imagination go wild.