Creative Placemaking is the practice of engaging arts and culture to catalyze the transformation of places.
It involves processes and strategies to re-imagine places, change their look and feel, inject new energy, create new narratives and in the process create new experiences. Creative placemaking done well is respectful of the past while engaging creative minds and cultural resources to co-create a new future.
The adaptive re-use of the former Loch Sloy Business Park site provides a great opportunity to employ the strategies and principles of creative placemaking. Through a creative placemaking lens, Base31 becomes a canvas for creative ideas – a platform for artists, art lovers, tinkerers, designers and creative mischief-makers of all kinds.
The co-creation of Base31 will happen over many years involving the collaboration of hundreds of local tenants, businesses, organizations, trades, suppliers, artists and audiences. Over the coming years, Base31 will continue to build partnerships, collaborations and trade relationships as well as issue several calls for artwork and host large and small exhibits, events and festivals.
What is Creative Placemaking at Base31?
Base31 CEO, Tim Jones, coined the term Creative Placemaking in 2006 in an effort to build a community of practice around the process of leveraging art for change in urban and community development. This specialized area of work is part of the wider practice of ‘placemaking’ that was first advocated by the ‘new urbanist’ community in the 1960’s and 70’s before becoming mainstream in the 2000’s. Today, creative placemaking is widely practiced around the world and numerous colleges and universities as well as the Urban Land Institute continue to advance the field.
“Creative Placemaking is not just about doing placemaking in a creative way” says Base31 CEO Tim Jones “It is about the specific strategies and methodologies that can be used to engage artists and other creators to re-think, re-imagine and revitalize places. In my view, successful creative placemakers need to have a reverence for the heritage of a place as well as an openness to engaging locals to generate things that are new but authentic to that place.”
This idea of intentionally engaging arts and culture as part of an agenda for change has been happening in The County for almost 20 years. In 2003, Dan Taylor who was then the County’s Economic Development Officer attended a conference on creative placemaking that would later inspire initiatives like the Arts Trail and The Creative Rural Economy Strategy. Ultimately these things were instrumental in building The County brand and instilling a new “sense of place” that is rooted in culture, the arts and the art of farm-to-table. Base31 looks forward to continuing this decades-old tradition of adapting creative placemaking strategies and principles to become one of the best examples of it in a rural context in the world.
Nature’s Aviators and the Aviators Garden
The Aviators Garden is a spectacle of art and nature, situated next to the former Officers quarters.
Base31 has issued several calls for artist submissions to beautify the space. The first call for artist submissions took place in April 2022 to help us explore the theme of “Nature’s Aviators.”
This public art sculpture was unveiled Saturday, July 30th beside Melt Studio and Gallery at Base31. Contentment has been brought indoors ahead of colder months.
Mural Paintings Project
As part of Base31’s Placemaking and Public Art strategy, ten shipping containers are being used to tame the winds on site and bring more art to the northwest area of Base31 in and around the Aviators Garden.
The shipping containers have been wrapped with plywood panels that become the support for the artworks. Base31 has commissioned several experienced mural artists for this project, who were inspired by the fauna and flora that can be found at Base31 and reflected on the theme of foraging. Their artworks beautifully combine figurative and abstract elements in a rich and vibrant colour palette. Two containers have been installed at the entrance of the Aviators Garden, created by PEC artist, Dianne Kehoe, Toronto mural artist, Meaghan Kehoe, and Vancouver artist, Anya Mielniczek.
Base31 is thrilled to install eight more containers in the near future. As part of the overall Placemaking strategy, these containers will not only support mural paintings but will also be converted for food service in the future.