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Graffiti knitting warms up the chain-link along St. Helens Avenue, thanks to Tacoma Urban Landscaping and more

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on March 26, 2013 at 5:35 am with No Comments »
March 26, 2013 2:26 pm
Knitted flowers decorate Tacoma chain-link. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti
Knitted flowers decorate Tacoma chain-link. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

Knitting art has always given me warm, fuzzy feelings (get it?) and especially guerrilla knitting. So the latest urban-cheering-up installation on the ugly chain-link fence along St. Helens Avenue at 6th in downtown Tacoma is a delight, perking up the gray steel and grayer view, and generally making a statement that even though Tacoma can be ugly, we can still show it love through art.

Masterminded by a local coalition of Tacoma Urban Landscaping, Downtown On the go, Coalition for Active Transportation, 35 Ways to Safer Streets, The Grand Cinema and the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council, the graffiti knitting is a brilliant idea, and much more elegant than the alley of love letters that preceded it. Colorful knitted flowers soften the fence, knitted flags wave brightly overhead, and sweaters knitted deftly into letters spell “SPRING” along the entrance to the chain-link walkway that protects pedestrians from the precipice down into the vacant lot on the street’s east side. Who knows how long that fence is going to be there and be that ugly – and so, in a neighborhood that’s rapidly on the up-and-up (think the swanky Maxwells, the delicate decorating vibe of Dwelling and Giraffe, the hip eateries at Amocat and Stink) this chain-link deserves some charm.

And here it is, along with groovy knitted tubes for the stop signs at either corner, and a board on the south end explaining the process with a survey to inspire more creative ideas. IMAG0452As someone who regularly walks that block, I tip my hat to these knitters. Imagine this in every ugly Tacoma crevice – now that would transform T-town.

Find out more and take the survey at Tacoma Urban Landscaping’s Facebook page (you have to be a fan). Or pick up a hard copy at The Grand  Cinema and other local businesses, walk around the area (bordered by Wright Park, Stadium, the Foss waterway and the theater district) and tell the city what you think is needed to improve walkability. Send comments, pictures and forms in by May 21, and mark June 21 on your calendar to show up at The Grand for a community forum.

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