An artist's revelation on parking garage

Posted: Friday, December 05, 2008

On Nov. 17, I received an e-mail notice from Juneau Arts & Humanities Council notifying of a Call for Artists interested in designing, producing and installing artwork on the Downtown Transportation Center. I contacted the city Engineering Department to get some idea of what these structural surfaces, both interior and exterior, might include. I was told that was up to each artist to decide and to prepare a written concept. Fair enough. So I downloaded a free virtual software program that enabled me to "walk around" and orbit city existing architectural drawings of the parking garage and transit center.

Using this program was actually fun until it struck me, like a tumbling concrete pillar, that this garage was literally a four-story, straight-up-and-straight-down, right-angled, concrete structure designed expressly to park and to hide empty cars from the public. And here I was straining my brain to search for creative ways to provide a modicum of interesting decorum to this vehicular monument; this unnatural monolith to individualized convenience, and tourist traders, not to mention that deadly addiction to fossil fuel.

So now I have decided to submit my concept to official city deciders as a creative conceptual protest of sorts.

To conclude: This parking garage and transit center will sit right below the crest of Telephone Hill or what may be left of it afterwards. And when you have completed your shopping and are retrieving your vehicle from the top floor, you might possibly catch a glimpse of open water on down the channel. Please, then, remember this as a $10 million view from a once priceless city public waterfront.

Oh, but what a dear, dear price we all do pay to have our conveniences and profits.

Alan R. Munro


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