Public Works from the
Department of Good Public Works
In 2015 Shari invented the Department of Good Public Works and appointed herself as Head Chief, Executive Director. The aim is to improve the public realm through art projects and/or community engagement. Thus far, the department has spearheaded the Public Fact Collection Program, Fence Improvement Initiative, Railing Enhancement Program, and Space Improvement Signage Program. There is an ongoing assessment of infrastructure in order to improve our surroundings. To clarify: this department is fictitious and has no affiliation to any other group or organization. Shari is the sole member of this department.
Fence Improvement Initiative
This project improves fences by weaving and stitching/embroidering. Below is a selection of the good works. Some are in Toronto, others are in Brooklyn.
Railing Enhancement Project
This was a 2016 effort to use weaving techniques to enhance the railing of a bridge.
Public Fact Collection Program
From Nov 2015 until spring of 2017, the Fact Box periodically collected facts from those who had facts to offer. At the outset, people were asked to swap books for facts. Later, the box became the Official Fact Collection Depot thanks to the Department for Good Public Works. The hope was for the community to contribute to creating a book of knowledge. Now, the facts are now being compiled to form a Fact Book — an important resource thanks to anonymous contributors. All facts will be checked for the sake of accuracy. Additional details about the Fact Box can be found in this Torontoist article.
Space Improvement Signage Program
The aim of Space Improvement Signage is to improve public space through the use of signage. This was implemented in 2016.
The first batch of signs dealt with feeding pigeons. Folks might think that feeding pigeons is either a kind gesture or a good way to offload scraps of food, but really, feeding pigeons leads to over-breeding and an overabundance of pigeon poop. It's easy to forget that city pigeons are capable of sustaining themselves. Feral pigeons eat spiders, insects, and food scraps, so they don't need your breadcrumbs. We've assessed the city and identified key problem areas where folks fed pigeons multiple times a day, where people left noodle soup and entire sandwiches for pigeons. We assessed the signage for effectiveness. At the outset, folks would throw food a bit of a distance from the sign. A couple weeks later, though, the old feeding method reemerged. One issue was that signs disappeared from poles, sometimes within a day of putting it up. Another issue was that folks don't really care that much.
Below are examples of pigeon problem areas and signs placed in and around those locations.