Re-thinking Shade State of Mind: how we got here

Wednesday, July 25th was the first time we attempted to Re-think shade. Summer months on the plaza aren’t fun, so we put the challenge out to the public to help us come up with creative ways to negotiate the elements as part of our theme for Living Plaza.

At the beginning of July we put a call out to help build shade structures. On Thursday, July 12,we met at Life/Mokah in Deep Ellum where about thirty people listened to a quick presentation about this year’s Living Plaza efforts and where we were going with the concept Re-thinking Shade. In the 13 days between the informational meeting and the Living Plaza event, we had a lot of interest in the project but only ended up with 2 built designs – the Beach Bench by Amanda Popken and Trash Bin Seat by Patrick McDonnell. Some of the biggest obstacles in our first go-round were that people didn’t have enough time to design/build or they didn’t have money to fund the project – which was based on how much they wanted to spend.


We re-thought our strategy to give people more time and also to raise some money to help support the structures being built. We re-contacted all of the people that came out to the informational session who were interested and sent out various online campaigns to generate interest again, and made another call for shade structures ending August 15th at midnight. The second Re-thinking Shade installment is coming up Wednesday, September 26th. And boy we’re excited!!!

All and all, the first Re-thinking Shade went off pretty well. People came out to the plaza despite the 104 degree temperature. They were met by three awesome food trucks: Nammi, Easyslinder, and Coolhaus. They enjoyed the music stylings of DJ Coknl O’Dire. They watched dancers dance about shade. They sat under trees on Astro-turf and moved their tables and chairs to shaded areas. People brought umbrellas too, and those who did got to chose a small toy out of the pink Hello Kitty mystery bag of fun. It was a pretty shady day! To see more about the day’s happenings check out our photo album on facebook at Friends 0f Living Plaza.

As we move forward, we can already see that Shade 2 is inspiring BIG ideas. We’re collecting those idea and will be publishing them a few days after the Deadline ends, August 15. Stayed tuned as we continue down the path of Shade, in a good way, of course!



2 Comments to “Re-thinking Shade State of Mind: how we got here”

  1. This is really great, you should also send things like this to the UTArlington Architecture program and students around the area. It would really help them have a hands-on experience in something that would be helpful to their careers

    • Yes definitely! We have talked at UTA about Living Plaza a few times and they have created their own version of Living Plaza. We also work with El Centro, the community college downtown, and this summer we’ve been working with the Oak Cliff Cultural Center after school program and have brought middle school and high school aged students to the plaza. We’re always looking for more ways to involve the community at large and the academic community to help out in any way. If you have any contacts that could help us achieve more hands-on experience please have them contact us.

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