By the end of this month, 20 new tree guards and 20 new tree guard benches will dot the avenue’s block faces between Washington Park and Classon Avenue! The overall design of the tree guards is the result of a collaborative process that began in 2007 with the Pratt Design Incubator, which included a community workshop, field interviews and analysis by Pratt industrial design students, and a series of soft and hard prototypes. No sir, these are not your everyday-run-of-the-mill tree guards. The tree guards were created with a modular design that allows for customization – the panels on each of the guards were designed by local artists! We sent out an open call for panel designs last year, and selected 19 artists from the submissions to participate (see all the designs above!). Designs range from doilies to graphic patterns to skylines to maps, and some even reference the former Myrtle Avenue elevated train.
Hopefully you’ve already spied the prototype tree guard and prototype tree guard bench on the avenue. We installed these prototypes to fine-tune the designs, and to check out how people responded to them. Every day, we see dozens of B54 passengers at Myrtle and Washington enjoying the prototype bench while they wait for the bus. That’s exactly what we’d hoped for!
We’re serious about protecting our trees, but we saw this street furniture project as an opportunity for public art, too. Myrtle’s new tree guards are both functional and durable, and also offer a ‘canvas’ that reflects Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s creative spirit. With over 200 trees in the Partnership’s Business Improvement District boundaries (we’re proud to claim responsibility for having over a quarter of those planted on the avenue, btw), we’re not able to provide guards for all of them in this round. We’re continuing to fundraise, and hope to release another open call for panel art early next year, and install additional guards in summer 2012.
Later this fall, we plan present opportunities to support the avenue’s greening efforts by ‘sponsoring’ benches, through a program similar to the NYC Parks Department’s adopt-a-bench initiative. Stay tuned for more information on this, for details on a celebration/reception in the fall, and photo-updates throughout the installation process! Have questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to: New York Main Street Program, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership Business Improvement District for supporting this project.