The Space Savers Project is a citywide public arts project, inspired by the Philadelphia custom of “saving” on-street parking. Saving public parking spaces, while technically illegal, is widely practiced throughout the city. Items like recycling bins, upturned garbage cans, cinder blocks and broken furniture are traditionally used as space savers. While the objects effectively “save” spaces, they can be visually crude and imply threat/ possession. We called on artists to design and create alternatives to the objects traditionally used to save spaces. This is public art project as well as an environmental and social experiment. We wanted to re-imagine what space saving in the city can look like. We wondered: Can a change in the aesthetics change the message of space saving? Or is the act of space saving immutable? Perhaps by replacing traditional space savers with art, we can transform the practice of saving spaces and begin new community dialogues.
Is saving a parking space with a work of art different than saving one with a cinder block tethered to a street sign? The Space Savers Project may reveal an answer.
The creative goals for The Space Savers Project are:
To re-imagine a Philadelphia custom;
To transform environments and social customs;
To engage viewers outside of traditional gallery spaces.