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The Living Plaza Folks Want to Make Shade, But First They Need Your Money

Amanda Popken, with the structure she built for the first Re-thinking Shade event.
Amanda Popken, with the structure she built for the first Re-thinking Shade event.

The Living Plaza project, the temporary installation of people, food and miscellanea in front of City Hall, has been breathing life into the desolate concrete wasteland at 1500 Marilla for more than a year now. It's fueled by the type of creative energy one doesn't expect from the great edifice of bureaucracy in whose shadow the plaza sits. But there's a problem there. There's really not much shadow at noon on a summer day and not much shade to speak of.

The lack of cover inspired the Living Plaza folks last month to try to rethink shade by creating shade structures, which resulted in a whopping two installations. Seems that the 13-day heads up wasn't enough for a lot of folks to put together the elaborate contraptions they'd envisioned. Then there was the lack of funds.

They've fixed the first problem: Re-thinking Shade 2 is set for September 26, and many of the designs are already completed. The second part, they're still working on. City workers Patrick McDonnell and Amanda Popken just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help turn those six designs into actual things. And what happens when the plaza reverts to its natural state? Plan is to keep the portable shade to be deployed on other city property.


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