Power to the pedestrian

By on August 27, 2014

The POP experiment hijacks Deloney Street.


Deloney Street transforms into a pedestrian mall Friday. Image courtesy Bland Hoke, Jr.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – For many of us, Jackson Hole encapsulates an air of possibility. But while our natural arenas unleash potential for individual progress, we’re left with few public spaces that spike our pulse as a community.

On Friday, Jackson Hole will undergo an experiment administered by artist Bland Hoke, Jr., and Jackson Hole Public Art that eyes a new realm of public space, where people, art, food, music, performance and the unknown coalesce.

Inspired by dynamic pedestrian-focused initiatives – such as those in LA, or New York City, where Times Square was transformed into a robust pedestrian plaza – POP (Place of Possibility) is a placemaking prototype that will transform Deloney Street into a pedestrian mall with myriad moving parts sans vehicular disturbance.

What is placemaking you ask? Well, it’s an idea aimed at enriching the public spaces we share with our neighbors, which should help fortify our connections with one another, too. The nonprofit Project for Public Spaces says placemaking reimagines public spaces as the heart of every community, in every city.

“We are experimenting with a more broad view of placemaking,” explained Hoke, who is the public artist in residence for Jackson Hole Public Art. “Performances are just going to pop up … one person’s experience might be completely different than another person’s. There are many little tendrils here that are happening and they are all a part of the experiment.”

Stroll through Deloney Street anytime between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday to sample food from an eco-friendly food delivery service, imbibe on – or join – impromptu music, play lawn, err street games, ogle street art designed by Hoke and Ben Carlson, cast your vote for new Jackson Hole bench designs, lounge with new faces and soak in the changing scenery.

While the process of urban planning often appears convoluted to the general populace, POP invites the public to have fun weighing in on how they’d like to see public spaces shift. Folks who stop by Deloney Street will have the opportunity to sound off about their experience in a video booth, and that input will affect the outcome of future POP endeavors.

“If people are interested in [POP], we hope to expand the experience next summer,” Hoke said. “Why not try closing down Deloney Street for a week from one Farmers Market on Saturday to the next [the following week]?” Ultimately, Hoke said, POP will attract more people to businesses in the vicinity, too.

POP (Place of Possibility) happens 10 a.m. to 10 p.m, Friday on Deloney Street. As the POP folks have advised, expect the unexpected. www.jhpublicart.org.

About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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