Folkways has a thing for alleyways. They're interesting, a little quirky, and they happen to be the setting for an event that we co-founded, called Alley Fair. As we have continued to make creative use out of these pedestrian thoroughfares, we have seen an increase in businesses taking advantage of them as well with new alley entrances, patios, and more.
On of our favorites is Roberts Alley, running along the west side of Broadway. We have been making incremental changes to this alley since our first event in 2013 by commissioning a few local artists to create pieces of art on the dumpsters.
The Roberts Alley Restoration Initiative promotes and creates growth in walkability, business, and access to public art in the alleyway. Our first project was the 'Welcome to Roberts Alley' mural, painted in the style of a hand-painted sign by artists, Cory Gillerstein and Jared Froeber.
We created this piece with artist, Tristan Pollock on his trip to Fargo to speak at TEDxFargo. Tristan spoke on improving our urban lives by reducing the amount of grey space that we spend time in. We will post his talk here when it is online.
We believe that alleys are for people. They're shared with delivery trucks and a few dumpsters here and there, but if you think about it, alleys are just the right size, speed, and proportions to be an ideal walking street.
We're not stopping there. While there are many historic and beautiful buildings in Downtown Fargo, there's an equal amount of cinderblock construction and garage doors that add up to a lot of gray matter. Keep your eye on the alleyways for our next projects and just a little more color in our lives.