Community Engagement in Kinston, NC
On the evening of January 23rd, 2017, Vicki Scuri SiteWorks led a community workshop as the kickoff event for the Kinston SmART Vision Plan. Vicki Scuri gave a presentation showing samples of her work, a comprehensive site review of the city and a sample of Public Art and Placemaking precedents.
Before this meeting, we spent a week thoroughly documenting the existing conditions of the scope of the plan. This enabled us to understand the many facets of Kinston, including its unique character, architecture, nightlife, cultural events, local art, music, parks, and farmers market. We presented these visual findings in a presentation and on physical boards in the back of the room.
We identified twelve areas of interest for public art and placemaking opportunities in the plan area. These include the main city entries at the north and south ends of town; Grainger Hill with its stadium and arts center; North Queen Street; the side street connections to North Queen Street; the intersection of Queen Street and King Street; South Queen Street; Herritage Street; the Avenue of the Arts and the Arts Center Alley; the Bike Route through the Arts & Cultural District; the community garden, story-walk and entry at Pearson Park; the current Riverwalk; and the future Riverwalk. Each of these areas was identified and documented on a board.
The presentation also included an introduction to public art and placemaking, demonstrating many precedents of projects that relate to the possible opportunities in Kinston. This included: iconic landmarks, sculpture, gateways, entry signs, stadium signs, banners, lighting as art, bridge lighting, street lighting, tree lighting, trees, planters, street furniture, hardscape, crosswalks, intersection marking, street signs, wayfinding, medallions, alleys, murals, storefront windows, temporary art, performance pop ups, gardens, path paving, barrier fencing, exercise and play equipment, story-walks, and artistic fences. Again, these precedents were shown in the presentation and on the boards.
More than thirty people attended, representing many aspects of the community. They gave their feedback on what they thought about the many areas of Kinston addressed by this plan and what they hoped to see these areas become in the future. The room was full of excitement and optimism as the community discussed their opinions and aspirations together.
We asked the meeting participants a series of questions about their community to better understand Kinston from their perspective. These questions ranged from direct to more open ended, and all served to inspire creative responses. After the meeting, we compiled these responses, looking for trends within them that could help form a view of the city. We made a graphic representation summary of the responses for each of the twelve areas we identified to get a quick visual snapshot of the feelings of the community.
Each area is represented by a circle with a colorful outer band that shows the colors the community associates with the area. The size of the area for a color represents the number of votes it received. Within this colorful band are words that represent a compilation of the defining characteristics, mood, images, and memorable qualities of each area as defined by the community. The larger the word is, the more people who used it.