Since the fall 2013, I have conducted community workshops, researched neighborhood histories, and have created a collection of visual imagery reflecting on communities along the Santa Clara Street/Alum Rock/Capitol Expressway bus route. The imagery, histories and stories collected will inform the pattern designs and art enhancements created by Merge Conceptual Design for the bus stop shelter along the Alum Rock Rapid Bus Line. Here is a link to a community meeting for the project. The project includes 21 shelters at 11 station locations along a 7.4 mile corridor. Ground breaking of the line will occur soon.
Below is a very rough concept sketch I drew for one of the pattern ideas. It reflects on the Jackson Street/Alum Rock area and would focus on the African American community and its important history in the area. At one time this area had large congregations in the Baptist Churches and they did (and still do) a lot of community outreach and support. This pattern focus on the beautiful church hats I saw at Saint Paul Baptist Church on their members photo wall.
There was a long wall of photos documenting many years of membership (height of membership was in the 60’s) and most women are wearing unique and dramatic hats in these images. A pattern that is a collection of of their church hats from over the years would be a unique and site specific pattern.
After reflecting on this idea I did a bit of an online search and found this wonderful audio piece giving context to African American church hats: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=876404 I enjoyed listening to time mark 2:50; it is a vivid description of a child envisioning black women’s church hats as having minds of their own.
The photo book Crowns shares the history and beauty of these church hats.