Tiny Bridges

Tiny Bridges is a community engagement project designed to promote citizen interaction with pubic art, encourage representation of a broad cross-section of the City of Johns Creek residents, and to be a visual reminder that “all” are welcome in our city. The City of Johns Creek has a very diverse population and culture. The use of Tiny Bridges is appropriate and significant in “bridging” our cultures into one community and providing an understanding of our social values.

The idea of bridges was selected for both the literal meaning of crossing a bridge into “The Creek” (The City of Johns Creek) and the metaphorical bridging or connecting of the community.  The bridging can be between the first settlers and the new city leaders, between East and West, between blended families, between gender equality, between golfers and tennis players……between whatever is important to you. The concept of tiny bridges derives from very successful public art projects in several American cities such as the Cow parade, Fairy Doors, Tiny Doors, and the Egg Parade.

The ArtSpot committee will engage local artists to construct several bridges that convey acceptance, inclusion or whimsy.  Artists will collaborate with local the business to design the appropriate Tiny Bridge for their location.

Each bridge will have its own special media coverage as they begin to appear around the city, for these are magical bridges that possibly fairies, trolls or other tiny spirits built on their way to creating an ideal community.

Tiny Bridges Sponsor benefits:

  • ArtSpot website will post a  map of all Tiny Bridge locations and sponsor’s logos
  • Press releases to include sponsor info
  • Facebook posts with sponsor location identification
  • Sponsors are asked to make a $100 donation

Sample bridge and artist statement:

This tiny bridge represents the bridging of the past and present in Johns Creek history. The Cherokee Indian represents the tribes who lived along the Chattahoochee River in the Johns Creek area in the early 19th century. Trading posts along the Chattahoochee River became crossroad communities where families gathered to sell their crops. The “wheels of time” represent the progression of our community from agriculture(green), to industry(silver), to technology(blue). Crossing into the present, the City of Johns Creek is a welcoming, and vibrant multicultural community depicted by the black and white figures.

Overall Plan:

The program plan for Tiny Bridges will take a four prong approach:

  1. The ArtSpot committee will engage local artists to come up with several bridges that have thematic designs of acceptance, inclusion or whimsy.  These bridges will begin popping up all around the city at local business.  Each bridge will have its own special press release, for these are magical bridges that possibly fairies, trolls or other tiny spirits built on their way to creating an ideal community.  It is hoped that as the idea catches on businesses will start to create their own bridges.
  2. ArtSpot will reach out to other groups such as the Johns Creek Art Center, summer camps, or festival days to see if a bridge building activity can be incorporated into their planned activities. The goal is to encourage civic groups, schools, businesses, private citizens, and individual artists within the city to create their own small bridge, using the guidelines and criteria outlined by ArtSpot.   Participants will be asked to construct a bridge that represents an idea or concept that they feel represents their experience living in Johns Creek, or a dream or wish they have for their community.  When and if appropriate a leader may teach a small lesson on acceptance, appreciation and diversity.   These bridges can then be entered into a Tiny Bridges contest.  The contest criteria will not focus solely on the merit of the concepts expressed but on effort, and creativity.  ArtSpots acknowledges that no one person’s concept of what they would like “bridged” is more important than another’s vision.
  3. ArtSpot intends to host a community wide event for showcasing the bridges to the community. Two approaches have been discussed, displaying the bridges at the local libraries and/or creating a tiny bridges walking garden in a local park. If the outside display is selected then the bridges will be selected by a panel of judges, based on the artistic value, durability and will be displayed within the city for a period of one year until the next cycle of bridges becomes available.   The long term goal is to increase the interest and engagement of the community so the Tiny Bridges Day becomes an annual signature event in the city, and citizen look forward to the discovery of a Tiny Bridge as they go about their day.
  4. ArtSpot will apply for community grants to host an “artist in residence.”  This artist will engage with a variety of groups within the city to discuss their “stories”, and to learn what is culturally and personally significant to them.  The artist will take all of the information gathered and use this to create a public sculpture (a bridge) to represent the community as a whole.  The symbolism is that it is the strength and experiences of all the people within the community that makes Johns Creek special.  One missing pieces would make the bridge weaker and people may not be able to cross.

Location:

The goal of public art is for it to be accessible to all.  Locations need to be in heavily traveled, easily accessible, and pedestrian-friendly areas of the city. The goal is to promote the support and participation of small business in an effort to display the bridges on their property among their plants or sidewalks, or inside their windows etc. Due to the miniature scale of this type of public art, the placement of this type of artwork should be relatively simple. Since they are not permanent, the installation of each bridge outdoors can be anchored with standard landscaping materials.

Community Marketing:

A section of the ArtSpot website will be dedicated to Tiny Bridges.  Photos, a location map,  etc will be displayed.

The website will instruct people to gain permission from the business prior to putting the bridge on display. ( need to look into getting an official disclaimer statement to post on website).  The website will instruct participants to let the “official Keeper of Tiny Bridges History”  know when a bridge is placed and its meaning

Families can plan an afternoon dedicated to visiting the bridges

ArtSpot would like to sponsor a scavenger hunt with prizes. (concept not fully developed)

Facebook post will be highly encouraged

Businesses will have their names located on the website to accompany the bridge at their location. The local business will benefit by their name being listed on the website as a location to find a bridge, the artist will bring to the business family and friend to see their bridge

Construction Guidelines:

The following guidelines are based on an outdoor display of the tiny bridges.  Similar guidelines will be created for indoor display if that route is chosen

The website will contain these guidelines and links to online pages that will assist with construction ideas.  We may post a list of durable outdoor products to use.

Preliminary Guidelines:

The Tiny Bridges program will follow the Community Standards set forth in the Public Art Master plan

  1. The bridges must be original works of art. Prefabricated material may be included however the final sculpture must be original.
  2. The bridges will be built using any material durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements. Wood and metal need to be sealed and weather proof to prevent rotting and rusting.
  3. Dimensions cannot be larger than 12 inches in length by 6 inches in height, 4 inches in width.
  4. A theme or message can be depicted within the construction of the bridge using other materials but they must all be original works using materials that can withstand the outdoor weather.
  5. An artist statement is required explaining the concept behind the construction and theme.
  6. The artist will be required to sign a release allowing ArtSpot to display the art piece for a maximum of a year and to use the image for publicity.

Ownership:

The artists will be required to sign a release allowing Art Spot to display their bridge for a period of one year with the understanding that the piece of art may be exposed to the weather; and they release the city, JCB, the displaying business, and ArtSpot from any liability due to damage or theft. The bridges will be periodically inspected.  If a bridge is damaged the bridge will be removed and the artists contacted about the repair.

Maintenance and conservation:

Due to the temporary nature of this type of art, there will be little need for maintenance.  However, with public art, there will always be the risk of theft or damage due to mistreatment so some precautions will need to be taken to protect the artwork. The best part about public art is that it’s public and the hardest part is that it’s public. The pieces need to be cared for and appreciated by the community at large.