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Voice of Denver: RedLine Playing it Forward with Hopscotch Art

Hopscotch will be installed in seven Denver neighborhoods.

There is a planning meeting on May 5 at the Valdez-Perry Branch Library.

Louise Pilar Martorano, executive director of RedLine Gallery in Curtis Park, sees play in general -- and hopscotch, specifically -- as a means of connecting people in Denver.
How much can the street game of hopscotch bring communities together to play? And, how much can this type of play generate conversations about the importance of connectivity to each other and to the community? Well, Argentinian artist Agustina Woodgate created artwork using the familiar game of hopscotch -- only in this case making it thousands of squares long -- in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Miami, Florida; and Krakow, Poland. The experience demonstrated that hopscotch does indeed connect communities.

In an interview posted in September 2013 after installing hopscotch around Miami, Woodgate spoke about the work. She explains:
Your city becomes a playground, it is the a little bit of the idea of this piece…and seeing the city with more playful eyes…The cool thing is that everyone knows how to play, everyone knows the rules, so everyone plays.

Woodgate will travel to Colorado on June 21 to install hopscotch in seven neighborhoods around Denver as part of RedLine 's Play it Forward series, made possible through partnerships and support from the Biennial of the Americas, The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, The Children 's Museum of Denver, The Denver Foundation, Mile High Connects, Radian and the Valdez-Perry Branch Library. The full list of partners will extend, like the hopscotch courses themselves, across the city encouraging all, as Woodgate describes, to come together and play.

When Woodgate visited RedLine in January to discuss the project, she told us stories of how different communities responded to the piece and how unique it was to each community. In Krakow, Poland she described how people began to use the hopscotch course to give directions to visitors,  "you can get a great latte at square 165" or "just follow the squares to an excellent café." I think in Denver, we will see the piece as a great excuse to have conversations that are important to our community and get to do a whole lot of hopping in the meantime.

The game will begin at Valdez-Perry Branch Library in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood on June 22 and will then hop to Curtis Park, the 16th Street Mall, Civic Center Park, Lincoln Park/Sun Valley and LoHi before ending at Confluence Park on June 30. RedLine, Mile High Connects and Radian are organizing a planning meeting at the Valdez-Perry library on May 5 at 9 a.m. to encourage other organizations, businesses and community members to come and see how the course can be a catalyst for conversations and connectivity in their communities. All are welcome to attend.

Erin McLean, library program associate for the Valdez-Perry library, is looking forward to kicking off the conversation in the Elyria-Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods in relation to the possible reworking of I-70.

We are excited about a creative way to connect to the community during this dynamic time for Globeville/Elyria-Swansea. We hope to raise awareness about library services, community resources and the upcoming changes in the neighborhood. Perhaps we will offer an interactive element around transportation issues (RTD FasTracks, I-70) -- something to get people more engaged than just picking up a flyer.

Hopscotch will be up in each neighborhood through Aug. 30, 2015 in association with the Biennial of the Americas. During Woodgate 's installation process she will work with neighborhood youth and community members. Upon completion will celebrate with ice cream socials for everyone who participates.

RedLine and its partners are looking for support to make sure the vision for Hopscotch and Play it Forward is carried out, to learn more about the planning meeting on May 5 at Valdez-Perry Branch Library, to support, or get involved, please email hopscotchdenver.redline@gmail.com.

Louise Pilar Martorano is executive director of RedLine Gallery.

Voice of Denver is a featured post from Denver's entrepreneurs, experts and raconteurs. Contact us if you'd like to stand on our soapbox.
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