Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Three Way Solution

The weather shifts, the plan develops.

Last week, trudging over to Gallery 5 for session two of "The Ephemeral Plan: Brook Road," I was bundled up to my eyeballs, wearing boots and carrying an umbrella against the swirling snowflakes.

Tonight I had on leggings, a lightweight jacket and as I walked up the street, smelled the meaty, delicious aroma of a neighbor grilling in the 69-degree evening air.

What a difference a week makes.

This was the third installment of working to refine our plans for remaking the triangle at Brook and Adams Street in Jackson Ward.

My usual partners in crime were absent due to a work dinner, but with one woman from last week's group and her friend, we formed a new group and were assigned a facilitator, a woman who worked at City Hall.

With four women comprising the group, we had no choice but to call ourselves the Girl Power group.

Usually food is provided but tonight's supplier, Porkchops and Grits, had had a kitchen mishap so had been unable to fuel us. Ergo, there was some major stomach growling during tonight's session.

The trade-off was that one of the directors at Virginia Repertory Company a block away joined us, and offered everyone in the room two tickets to see the current production of "Tartuffe." Major score since I'd wanted to see it anyway.

The fates give and the fates take away.

Back to the matter at hand, after a short discussion period we took a field trip to the triangle to figure out which parts of our plan were most important and which were pie in the sky.

It was time to get realistic because next week is the last week to come up with a final design.

It wasn't our first foray on site but this time we oriented ourselves north, facing the Emrick Flats, home to the missing two members of our team.

Only then did we realize the symmetry of it all. We were standing on a triangular island, facing a triangular building and needing to connect the blocks with crosswalks.

Sketching out the requisite walkways formed a third triangle and that's when we all collectively smacked our foreheads.

What we needed was a street mural, a triangular, colorful way to delineate the walkways, serve as a gateway to Jackson Ward and give a visual alert to cars that this was a pedestrian-heavy area.

It must have been a terrific idea because when we shared it with the other two groups, they said so, marveling at the simplicity and brilliance of it.

One woman suggested it be a collaborative effort, with different people and groups painting separate sections within a greater whole. Art 180! Gallery 5! Virginia Repertory! Maggie Walker! Black History Museum!

A focal point for the new interactive plaza we'd envisioned at the triangle, a place with public tables and chairs, a circular bench under the huge, old oak tree, terraced steps around the perimeter for seating and a small performance space.

It was like the warm weather had brought about not only the luxury of wearing fewer clothes but the best of our creativity.

Estrogen, forging new possibilities all over Jackson Ward. Hungry women get it done.

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