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Art Walk Wrap: May 2010

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, May 17, 2010, at 09:31AM
IMGP2695 Ed Fuentes

Looking down at Art Walk patrons from above POPLOCK gallery.

Each month, the Art Walk acts as an experiment in returning Downtown streets to their origins as an environment for foot traffic. Increasingly, though, the traffic in those streets has become a puzzle that needs to be solved.

While the event officially runs from noon to 9pm, don't tell that to the Art Walk's thousands of attendees, many of whom don't show until the tail end of those hours.

While local night spots marketing After Art Walk parties are one way for people to move off the streets at the end of the evening, Pershing Square may be another answer for Art Walk decompression. "It could be a place where people can extend the night, meeting up in Pershing Square before getting on the Metro," says Art Walk Director Jay Lopez.

Being part of a crowd is a big part of the appeal at Downtown's Art Walk, even as tolerance by residents is measured by how much activity is near an open window. This time out, Spring from 4th to 6th had a bulk of the crowd, while Main between 4th and 5th was calmer when compared to previous months.

The monthly night of artists showing their wares continues to mix more with gallery-goers from outside Downtown, redefining social worlds for a night. Art Walk turns into a performative social science lab that has others interpret how street life is defined in a city that still coddles the car.

That may explain the mime who took to the streets, or other street performers that simply walk in circles around the city blocks.

For some, its a throwback to a Parisian tradition of street life in a cultural center, or Venice California moving inland. For some residents, the renegade street mime in white-face is the sign of the apocalypse.

This month's essay includes images by Esther Hyejin Chung, a 21-year-old photographer majoring in Political Theory and Social Relations at Michigan State University. She is also a traveler, using a camera to document regional customs and behavior.


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