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Posts Tagged ‘protest’

BY ZACH MORTICE

Witness Walls is composed of two different types of concrete walls, one with soft, impressionistic imagery and the other with sharper image contrasts. Photo by Stacey Irvin.

Many cities where African Americans fought for equality in the 1950s and 1960s are associated with violence: Selma, Memphis, Birmingham. Nashville wasn’t such a place. Its civil rights story was nonviolent and “so successful we don’t know about it,” says the landscape architect Walter Hood, ASLA, who was asked to commemorate this history with a public art installation.

Nashville was a leader in civil rights. It desegregated its public schools relatively early, in 1957, and its activist community and local pastors offered the same suite of training and conditioning for student protestors that many southern cities did. After a historic protest, then-Mayor Ben West was forced to desegregate the city’s lunch counters.

The site of this protest is now home to a commemorative public art and landscape installation by Walter Hood: Witness Walls, for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, completed in April. It’s the city’s first (more…)

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From the May 2012 issue of LAM:

Sarah Stierch

Park design, regulation, and the Occupy protests.

By Lydia DePillis

As the Occupy movement mushroomed around the country
last October, most aspiring activists didn’t agonize over
which patch of grass or concrete to take over in solidarity with those who were camping out on Wall Street.

For many, the answer was obvious. Most cities have traditional protest spaces, like a central downtown square or the grounds in front of city hall such as Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California. In Washington, D.C., as in New York, protesters camped out at sites with symbolic importance. The choice of D.C.’s Freedom Plaza was a reference to Cairo’s Tahrir Square—which means liberation square in Arabic—ground zero of the Arab Spring. And McPherson Square, another Occupy campsite, is on K Street, which is lined with lobbying firms.

Decisions about where to protest were often accidental. Occupy Wall Street had initially planned to take over the space around the bull statue in front of One Chase Manhattan Plaza but failed to secure a permit, so police fenced off the space before the group could move in. Protesters settled on nearby Zuccotti Park, which, because it was a privately owned public space, did not require the large group of protesters to obtain a permit. Occupy Atlanta took over Woodruff Park because a sympathetic group, the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, happened to have a permit for the space on the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. (more…)

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