On the menu for HxBIA in 2013 is a great blend of events, emerging partnerships, networking and professional development, the Local Area Planning Process and possibly some urban design features coming to HxBIA. Here’s just a few things to look forward to and a few emerging projects on the go.
We will continue to focus on quality programming in Victory Square Park, striving to animate this space with lively cultural events, live music, and modern curious. Did I just say curious? Does anyone even know what those are anymore? We’ll find out what that means closer to summer I suppose.
Interacting in public spaces through these events, street closures, and things like immersive gaming will continue to be a focus for the coming year. We want to bring people down here to our neck of the words to discover the incredible range of businesses, social enterprises and culture that we have to offer, but we also want businesses, residents, non-profits and local institutions to get to know eachother better through our events too. Two initiatives last year were very popular in particular. The Battle of Hastings immersive game saw over 400 people immersed in an alternate reality that brought them through several businesses and public spaces searching for clues to unlock the secret history of the Downtown Eastside. For those of you who did play the first installment, keep your clown noses. They may come in handy. They may save your life. A second installment of this is in the works and we hope to see launched towards late spring.
Lunch Meet was another great initiative that saw Abbott Street closed on Thursdays through August for a frickin huge outdoor communal lunch table. A DJ handily provided tunes to help chew and swallow and/or dance, and some food trucks also joined in the party.
Events that we’re happy to sponsor again in Victory Square Park include Central City Foundation’s Fair in the Square, Megaphone Magazine’s Block Party, and an upcoming Victory Fitness Day. We’re also working on getting some larger shows and we hope a couple of outdoor film screenings in the park too. More on this as it evolves.
Pigeon Park is another space that we’re looking to support programming and improved stewardship. We’re currently in touch with folks at the City, DNC Street Market and VANDU about creating a Tool Share Library for businesses in the area and partnering with the Street Market to support its success and development, there’s a lot of potential for this market and it has been getting steadily more and more popular and more well organized at that.
Will we see BIA Banners in 2013? Probably not, but you might see a lot more murals and cool public art. Our Public Spaces and Urban Design Committee has been invigorated by the recent leadership and initiative of its Chair, Mar Sellers from Dynamic Management Solutions, we look forward to making a splash with some exceptionally creative public art this year and Mar has done an amazing job helping to lay a foundation for this.
That’s a snapshot of a few of the things we’ve got on the go over the next several months but there will no doubt be many other opportunities as we continue exploring partnerships and collaborations with our numerous community partners and BIA members. My personal New Year’s resolution as Executive Director was to blog more this year, and to keep it under six hundred words.