This conceptual map was inspired fifteen years ago by an exhibit with a neighborhood diagram customized by visitors to the District Six Museum in Cape Town. I'd mused about what it would be like for a community to map their favorite places and mark locations where they had had significant and mundane experiences - an attempt to capture the now of a neighborhood. All these years later, I am lucky to be living in the phenomenal neighborhood Glen Park and tending the art fence, the perfect space for this idea that had been percolating for a decade and a half.
I sketched out a few significant streets and landmarks in Glen Park. My son added a compass rose and the necessary "you are here." A box of pens and several street maps were left on the sidewalk. The invitation: Take a pen and make your mark on this conceptual map of Glen Park. Add your street, your house, your favorite store or place you escape to. Tell us your Glen Park story - share the big and little memories that make this neighborhood our homes.
I learned great stories from my neighbors - there are secret caves in Glen Park Canyon, who knew? The map depicts a haunted mansion, patches of fennel, the owl chicks, Tygers, Destination Bakery, many homes, where Kai learned to ride his bike, the rope swing, and the fog. I did not know we had a fire breathing dragon or an elephant and such great artists!
Our kindergarten-age friend, newly adopted from Ethiopia, had spent the night. I was not sure how much he understood about the festival, the big sleepover, or anything else for that matter. He stayed close to me as I talked to passersby encouraging them to put their house or school or other important place on the map. After observing several adults and children writing, he picked up a pen and gestured toward the map asking permission to draw. I nodded yes explaining he could draw anything he wanted to. He beamed as he drew and then turned around for approval - just beyond Glen Canyon he'd added Ethiopia. He'd understood precisely what was happening and now we know that somewhere just beyond Glen Park canyon is W's homeland.
Awesome, fun, amazing experience - thank you to all who participated!
Enjoy the slide show. Add your favorite Glen Park location or memory in the comments.
I love you, Glen Park!