Dear House, the third public art project in bcWORKSHOP’s Activating Vacancy initiative in the Tenth Street Historic District, was held on Saturday, May 17, from 7:00-9:00pm at 1319 E Eighth Street.
Dear House explored vacancy as a state, rather than an end, for structures. Through a myriad of artistic actions, Dear House transformed how we, as community residents, understand and engage with vacant structures. Artistic representations were inspired by a series of public writing workshops hosted at local neighborhood institutions including American Care Academy daycare, Eloise Lundy Recreation Center, and Townview Magnet Center. Excerpts from these writings were artistically projected onto the walls of the home via light, video, and other installations, as well as performed as original oral pieces by neighborhood residents during the exhibition opening. Letters and mail art received from both near and far were also featured throughout the home, allowing visitors to open envelopes containing messages of hope and renewal for the vacant structure. Together, these activations challenged the status quo of how vacant structures are cared for, encouraged dialogue and expression with a wide audience about abandoned and vacant spaces, and empowered the community to take ownership of beautifying the house, all while making the surrounding area a safer and more vibrant place to live.