Written by Rachel Lindt, translated by Alyssa Lopez; All images by Javi de Leon
The Wilmington community gathered for the third and final pilot of the On Avalon project on Thursday, October 8th for an evening of reflection and long-term visioning. Pilot 3 continued On Avalon’s effort to help Wilmington residents imagine the future of Avalon Boulevard. Through dynamic programming and a combination of art, storytelling, and sharing, the community expressed their perspectives and wishes for the future.
The Hotel Del Mar was the hub for Pilot 3 – a location on Avalon Boulevard that truly encapsulates Wilmington’s past, present, and future. The Hotel is one of the oldest buildings on Avalon Boulevard and is home to local entrepreneurs seeking to help revitalize the street and residents who experience the boulevard as a part of their daily lives. LA-Mas chose this historic hotel for the opportunity to share its rich history and to prompt attendees to imagine what could be. Local docent Monica Garcia Massey presented 10-minute talks on the history of Avalon Boulevard with a slideshow of archival images of historic Wilmington, while a projection of Charlie Chaplin’s A Busy Day, filmed in Wilmington in 1914, danced on the storefronts of the Hotel Del Mar.
Installations Prompt Dialogue
Attendees could also imagine the future of Avalon Boulevard by providing input on the types of sidewalk amenities that could activate the street. Inspired by the comments from the first two pilot projects, a dozen sidewalk silhouettes presented potential amenities for the street. The sidewalk silhouettes were designed as white, two-dimensional installations to inspire community feedback and help demonstrate the affect potential amenities have to activate the sidewalk. Examples of the sidewalk silhouettes include a newspaper stand, street light, bench, landscaping, wayfinding and bicycle rack. Attendees voted for their favorite amenities by placing colored stickers on a board displaying the amenity types represented by the silhouettes. Sidewalk dining was the overall winner, being the option with the most ‘1st- choice’ stickers and the option with the majority of the total amount of stickers. Lighting, landscaping, and street trees followed as community member’s second and third choices.
The storefronts of Hotel Del Mar provided space and inspiration for imagining the types of businesses on Avalon Boulevard. Attendees were provided with post-its and pens to write and post the types of businesses they’d like to see on Avalon Boulevard. The feedback followed many topic directions with an emphasis on restaurants and sources of healthier food. A few community members suggested there be a construction of community centers, some focusing on either arts, teen entertainment, or providing resources for women experiencing domestic violence/ abuse. Many of the restaurant suggestions included chain restaurants and proposals for farmers markets.
Art Workshop Inspires
Attendees could also share their vision of Avalon through creativity and art. An art workshop led by Robert Jones of the Wilmington Art Walk invited aspiring artists of all ages to create artworks that will inspire the design of the graphic wrap of future solar-powered trash bins on Avalon. Community members voted for their favorite design at the end of the evening – an abstract, colorful work by local youth artist Evan Mohberg. Runners-up included a dynamic collage of local landmarks by artist Julio Cruz, and a music-inspired piece by artist Andrea Pimentel. Join LA-Mas at the Wilmington Art Walk on November 6th to see the final trash bin graphics inspired by the winning artist’s artworks!
This dynamic evening was capped off with delicious food and beverages provided by local teahouse Hojas, and displays by local artists Rachel Madrigal Photography, and Gloria Elisa Margarita Sanchez as a sneak peak of the Wilmington Art Walk scheduled for November.
Pilot 3, along with the previous two pilots, demonstrated that the Wilmington community is engaged and enthusiastic in helping to shape the future of Avalon Boulevard. As the final pilot in the series, Pilot 3 propelled the LA-Mas team into the next phase of the On Avalon project: the development of a long-term visioning document that maps out community priorities for Avalon Boulevard. This document, the Strategic Roadmap, will incorporate feedback from all three pilots to provide informed recommendations to Council District 15 for the implementation of permanent projects on Avalon Boulevard. Stay tuned for more on the Strategic Roadmap in the coming months, and don’t forget to visit us at the Art Walk!
See more photos in the gallery page.