New park renovation offers outlet for recreation, expression

View+from+the+fourth+floor+of+Arts+Academy+Plaza+construction+site.+The+Plaza+is+scheduled+to+be+completed+by+Spring+of+2017.
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New park renovation offers outlet for recreation, expression

View from the fourth floor of Arts Academy Plaza construction site. The Plaza is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2017.

View from the fourth floor of Arts Academy Plaza construction site. The Plaza is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2017.

Elyse Luecke

View from the fourth floor of Arts Academy Plaza construction site. The Plaza is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2017.

Elyse Luecke

Elyse Luecke

View from the fourth floor of Arts Academy Plaza construction site. The Plaza is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2017.

Elyse Luecke, Web Editor-in-Chief

Grand Center is known to be the “intersection of Art and Life”, consisting of the Fox Theater, Kranzberg Arts Center, various ethnic restaurants, Powell Symphony Hall, and Grand Center Arts Academy middle and high school. In early 2014, however, Grand Center Inc. established that they would make an addition to the area, a public park to be called Arts Academy Plaza.

Grand Center Inc. officials, along with the company’s president and CEO Karin Hagamen, generated the idea of the park, keeping students who attend GCAA, employees, residents, and patrons of the area in mind so that the park will serve a purpose for all to gather for performances, meetings, or to simply have a quiet, safe environment in a busy urban setting.

“It’s hard, in a place where there is so much traffic and so much hustle and bustle, to find safe places for our kids to hang out, places to perform, and places to be,” explained Matt Frederickson, head of school.

Funds have been raised to help Grand Center Inc. complete the project in collaboration with the Raneri Construction Company. Construction of the park will be funded by Metro Parks Sales Tax Fund, as well as support from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust and an anonymous donor.

Arts Academy Plaza will include seating terraces, harvest tables, and an amphitheater, giving privilege to students  to express their art more publicly.

Frederickson spoke at the Groundbreaking event on February 14th, along with Hagamen, and alderwoman Marlene Davis of Ward 19, on how this park will bring people in the arts community together.

When asked what he was looking forward to when the plaza is complete, junior Mattias Henning replied with, “Being able to share my art with the world, as well as receive it,”

Although GCAA performs and takes advantage of the Sun Theater next door, the park will also provide a different scenery, as well as a place to unwind or have fun with friends after school.

“I think it is good we have something like this, especially outside. It’s a cool thing…. I’m thankful for it.” said Henning.

“I think it will be a wonderful place for people to come and see our kids perform. It’s nice to have opportunities to showcase art in other spaces. Whether its visual art, music, theater, or even dance. It’s further connecting art to our school, what it is we’re about, and what our mission is. So people in this area continue to make that connection and understand who we are and what we’re trying to do.” said Frederickson.

 

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