Friday, May 9, 2008

Artist’s Statement

Washington Park, its History, and the Community

Personally, I love history. So when I got the opportunity to research one of Milwaukee’s most historic landmarks I was eager to dig in. The concentration of my individual project was the history of Washington Park, as well as how residents have related to the space in the past and present.

My prior knowledge of the park was very limited. The first thing I had to do was acquaint myself with the space by visiting a few times just to get a feel for the neighborhood. After one or two visits my partners and myself started approaching residents to ask some questions. Questions that we asked ranged from; How often do you use the park?, to What kinds of events are held on the park?, and most often What is the one word you would use to describe Washington Park? More often than not, the answer to the latter was “underutilized.”

Over the course of about a month I shot over 200 photos, and the amount of video collected by our group comes in at just over 40 minutes. While all of this material is nice to have, it just isn’t practical to display all of it. Therefore, most of my photos will not appear on my blog. Over the last couple of weeks I have visited the archive at the UWM Library. It was there that I discovered a wealth of print material that highlighted exactly what I wanted to present. This is where the postcard images originated, as well as the excerpts from old news clippings.

Another source that I used in this process was the Milwaukee Department of City Development’s document on Washington Park. The document provides a wealth of information related to the demographics of the area, as well as accessibility. There are many maps that show where people live, where resources are located, as well as the traffic patterns in the neighborhood.

The one major problem we have encountered in this process was access to iMovie. That was resolved quickly, as I had just purchased a new MacBook that included the software. With that out of the way it was a matter of learning how to use the new version of the program. It is unlike any previous iMovie any of us have ever used. There is no time line on the editing screen to drag and drop material. Instead, it is all in a format that has been very confusing to learn. Even though it has been difficult to edit our video we do believe that the program has allowed us to create a quality product that we are proud of.

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