In 2019, longtime Shaker resident Kim Harris organized a celebration for Hildana Park. The goal: commemorate several upgrades to the Chagrin Boulevard park, including a new public art piece, Strength in Unity, while also helping to introduce Hildana Park to the broader Shaker community.
Harris, who is the founder of Shaker African American Mothers Support (SAMS), an organization that brings together parents from across the City, says Hildana park did not have much attention or traffic. In the midst of COVID-19 she thought “…what could we do to get people to come and enjoy the park safely and on their own time?”
She became inspired by the idea of oversized comfortable chairs, spaced evenly apart, and decorated by artwork from the Shaker community. The theme for the project was Hope and as Harris explained “with everything happening in our world right now, [the theme] felt right.”
Currently, the installations built by the MOOS Shaker team can be found installed in Hildana Park on Chagrin Blvd and in the Van Aken District. Workshops in the summer of 2020 with this veteran group have been full of MOOS firsts: new pandemic-related safety protocols, virtual design workshops held remotely, and experimentation with a new material, concrete.
The Making Our Own Space (MOOS) program began work with students living in The City of Shaker Heights’ Moreland neighborhood in 2016. Student artists submitted designs to the City’s Public Art Task Force for approval for the 2019 project.
Making Our Own Space @ Shaker Heights is made possible through the generous support of Starting Point, in collaboration with the City of Shaker Heights, MyCom, and the Shaker Heights Youth Center. The program is run by Kent State’s Urban Design Collaborative.
Read more about the installations at http://www.wearemoos.org/shakerheights and https://shaker.life/community/pull-up-a-chair-in-hildana-park/