“Catch – & – Release” Installation Meant to Inspire Community-Driven Seaport Vision

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We’re venturing a bit beyond our normal coverage area for this one — but here’s an upcoming installation with obvious relevance on the Lower East Side.   The New York chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, is launching “Catch – & – Release,” an interactive project that “aims to capture and celebrate the extraordinary efforts” of the South Street Seaport community during and after Hurricane Sandy.  More from the organization’s web site:

Catch — & — Release is part of AIGA/NY’s Design/Relief initiative, a participatory design project that aims to help the neighborhoods of South Street Seaport, Red Hook, and the Rockaways imagine a more vibrant future for themselves as they overcome the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy. This special project of the New York chapter of AIGA (the nation’s leading professional association of graphic designers) explores the potential of design in defining and expanding creative placemaking to positively transform communities.

The installation will b temporarily set up under FDR Drive at John Street.  Visitors will be invited to share “messages of gratitude.” The project’s lead designer, Yeju Choi, says, “this installation will become a visible symbol of the unity, shared visions and social network of the South Street Seaport community.”  Next month, the messages will be shared in a public ceremony; a series of programs in the spring will allow participants to “collectively build a shared vision and social network” for the Seaport.

The opening takes place Saturday from 2-6 p.m. More information here.

It’s, of course, an interesting time for this type of engagement project. This past year, there were sharp differences about a sweeping Seaport redevelopment plan.  The New Amsterdam Market organization, among other groups, has been fighting to save the old Fulton Fish Market buildings. They’re mobilizing for a town hall meeting sponsored by Community Board 1 next Monday night.