Framing Lafayette Park: I imagine this park could be…

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On Saturday morning, October 27, 2012, Salem Public Space Project and friends hung five picture frames from trees in Lafayette Park.

The bright orange frames seemed to signal the high tourist season for Salem, with Halloween  just days away; Lafayette Park is not on the tourist circuit – residents call it  “bum park” and the marble, obelisk-like monument dedicated to World War II veterans and erected by the French Canadian community that used to live in the area does not feature on Salem postcards. The frames prompt passer-byers to do just that – take a photo – of friends or the framed view – of a place with few photo opps.

Booklets, hung just below the frames, say “Cheese!” and offered a space to comment on what this green space could be: “I imagine this park could be…” Some of the frames are placed “inside” the greenery of the park to entice people to cross the apparent edge posed by the sidewalk. Could the frames engage people to re-imagine the park?

The frames and booklets were up for just over 24 hours, but had to be removed with the coming of the resulting high winds after Hurricane Sandy. In the short time, comments were made, and their frequency show where most people frequent the park itself.

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