Sunday, July 23, 2017 This Week's Paper

Arts & Entertaimnment: Love Tacoma Lane takes art to the streets

Art lovers and downtown boosters faced a problem that only simple brilliance could solve. They faced a chain link construction fence along 6th Avenue and St. Helens Avenue. They hated looking at it, so they set out to spruce it up. Love Tacoma Lane was born. Notes of inspiration, love and hope or just shout-outs to the City of Destiny flowered up on the fence and a community effort took root. Tacoma Urban Landscaping, local businesses, artsy Tacomans and just passersby have added their notes since the celebration wall took shape this fall. The concept is simple. Visitors just take a “I LOVE ___|__” tag found at the fence, hang it from an empty link on the fence, snap a picture of it and post it on their social media page to share the love. The project is a first interactive art installation case study by Tacoma Urban Landscaping and supported by the School of The Arts students and University Of Washington-Tacoma Interdisciplinary Arts graduate school students. The art installation has been evolving continuously ever since with interactive participants’ involvements starting with Seong Shin, a principal at McGranahan Architects, just announcing the project idea on her Facebook page and asking her friends to join. Babe and Brian Lehrer as well as Paul Sparks joined via Facebook and worked as the core organizers. Teresa Placentia, Ian Wheelock, Holly Knoll, Claire Mendenhall, Patricia Lacy Davis and Tammy Scarlett joined along the way. Holiday lights went up. ARC Printing donated the tags. Volunteers gathered at Morgan Alexander’s AMOCAT Cafe to prepare the tags in late November. Businesses joined the effort, including Ledger Square Retailers, Ruby Chambers, The Mix, Market on Market, Embellish Salon, Smooth and Juicey, The Tacoma Brewing Co. and Alfa of Tacoma. Tags now flutter in the wind like fall leaves. Hundreds of them. More are added several times a day as people walk by, read notes and add to the project. The seeds of this work are about to sprout in other spots around Tacoma as well. A couple of people have shown interest in developing similar community art works in their neighborhoods in the coming year. “I really want it to have every neighborhood doing their own thing,” Shin said. While Love Tacoma Lane is on its way out in the coming weeks, a new one is set to take shape near Embellish Salon just in time for Valentine’s Day.