Play area is biggest in city
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) — A new playground and art installation project opened today at Jacobson Park in Lexington. The play area is Lexington’s largest, most accessible playground and features the city’s first interactive and educational art installation for children.
Lexington Parks & Recreation planned the new outdoor play area to replace Jacobson Park’s old playground, which was unsafe and not inclusive to children of all physical abilities. The park’s new playground now has equipment and pieces available to persons of all physical abilities and is also Lexington’s first playground to include a play area for children under the age of two.
The new play area features educational and nature scavenger hunt signs. An interactive stream play element will be added later this year and a sprayground will be added to the park near the playground next summer.
Lexington-based landscape architecture firm Element designed the playground. Their design includes a “natural play” area with native limestone boulders, logs salvaged from an over 200-year-old burr oak from Castlewood Park that had died, and a monarch waystation garden.
A central highlight of Jacobson Park’s new playground is the Livestream public art installation.
The project is the first of its kind in the city—combining art, science, and technology to educate children about Kentucky’s groundwater and the important effect it has on the environment surrounding it.
The installation consists of a series of pipe sculptures that use a custom-designed sonification toolkit to translate groundwater data into sounds. Data points are generated from the groundwater’s conductivity, temperature and flow, and each data point corresponds to a pre-recorded sound. The sounds of the Livestream have been composed by Kentucky musician Ben Sollee.
People can hear the sounds, based on their proximity to the pipes. When an individual moves toward a pipe then the sound volume increases; when he/she moves away, the volume decreases. So, in turn, by walking around the installation, individuals literally play the ground.
Livestream was created by the Public Works Collaborative, an artistic team consisting of founder and designer, Kiersten Nash; musician, Ben Sollee; engineer, Sean Montgomery; public artist, Bland Hoke; educator, Dan Marwit; and fabricator, Jon Pope.
The project was commissioned by LexArts and LFUCG’s Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works, and funded in-part by a $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts ART WORKS grant. The Kentucky Geological Survey was also a partner in the project.