Use 400lb Baby project, do research about similar projects and come up with insights that add to the greater discourse on design for social impact. Here are my initial ideas.
a. Building trust/ lessening apprehension in the community – forms of distrust/ apprehension that we encountered during the various stages of the project, what makes people apprehensive (social context, previous experience, not understanding art, more pressing problems to solve, is there anything in art/ artists/ graphic design that makes people apprehensive etc.), what we did for the 400lb Baby project, what worked, what did not work, analyze the process, compare with other projects, give recommendations. Public art involves publicly shared spaces, who are the stakeholders, how do they interact, what are they concerned about, different types of communication with the different stakeholders…
b. From Like to Act – What does it take for people to move from passively liking something to actually doing something, analyze our experience with 400lb Baby and compare to other projects, how is visual communication helpful, what else is important, what seems to be the mix? How do you retain interest?
c. What does it take to make social change sustainable? What steps in all stages of the project could you make to provide for sustainability of the project?
d. What does it take to empower a community? Can you do that through graphic design/ visual communication? What else is necessary?
400lb Baby is still in its initial stages. It was stalled for about 6 months because of changes in the administration of the City of Savannah, previous bad experience with a Candy Cheng wall on Waters Avenue, unfamiliarity of the city administration and the city of Savannah with public art. Things look much better now after several meetings with the City of Savannah and the community. We have a presentation next week to the neighborhood associations on Waters. The City wants the neighborhood associations to approve the project before we move on. Hopefully we will have the approval soon.
After the approval, we would like to get more students on board, do research in the community for potential planter adopters and canvas the community for relevant themes for the artwork. Since this is a pilot project, we would like to create 6 planters within a 6 months period, have a community celebration event when we install all 6 planters and then conduct a 2 weeks monitoring of the community interaction and feedback.
After that we are planning on preparing a detailed project documentation and analysis and presenting it to the City of Savannah to initiate a conversation about further expanding the project or using other forms of public art on Waters Avenue to complement the revitalization efforts of the City and the community .
Since the project is very dependent on forces that are beyond us, I am not sure how quickly we will be able to move on with the project. I think I will have a better idea in a few weeks. Fingers crossed. I think I can still do research and work on my topic (s) in the meantime. I am sure whatever happens will be interesting to ponder on.
Research different community development (empowerment) projects and see if I can add to Frog’s Collective Action Toolkit. I will probably use the 400lb Baby Project for some of the insights, but my discussion will not be limited to the 400lb Baby project. This direction will require much more research and deeper understanding of a wide array of community development (empowerment) projects.