Gallery Alley is a new public space in downtown Wichita which will have a grand opening later this week. In the spirit of the Wichita Popup Park, the once underutilized space is taking on new life as a place Wichitans and visitors can enjoy local art, entertainment, and socializing.
This is yet another piece of the ongoing effort to revitalize downtown Wichita, making it a walkable, people-oriented urban area. The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation received a $66,504 grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to transform the alley. It’s being launched on a one-year trial basis.
The new space is going to be so cool! It’s going to have several sculptures by local artists, a portable concert stage, a screen for movie nights, and seating for outdoor dining or just sitting and enjoying the downtown area. It will also be used to exhibit work by local artists during the monthly Final Friday Art Crawl.
So just where is this alley? It’s at 616 E. Douglas, just down the street from the Old Mill Tasty Shop and directly across from Naftzger Park. It’s west of the overhead train bridge on Douglas. Here’s a map:
The alley will be closed off to the street by an artfully designed “parklet” that also acts as bicycle parking. (Hey – check out the new Bike Share program in Wichita. Maybe this will be a good opportunity to try it out. Either that or the free trolley service! It looks like both the Old Town and the Douglas routes will run right past this new Gallery Alley space.)
To celebrate, and kick off activities in the park, the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) will hold a Grand Opening on Friday, May 26, 2017, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Remarks will take place at 5:30 p.m. and immediately following the alley will open for the Final Friday art crawl, featuring artwork and sculptures by local artists. Local bands Kill Vargas, The Cavves and Tideway will perform from 7-9 p.m. presented by Barleycorns. For more information about the kickoff event, visit the Facebook event page.
You can also watch this video and read below for the entire press release about Gallery Alley in downtown Wichita:
PLACEMAKING PROJECT WILL TRANSFORM ALLEY IN DOWNTOWN WICHITA
WICHITA, KS – April 25, 2017 – The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) has received a $66,504 grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation to transform an underutilized alley into a vibrant public space. The project, named Gallery Alley, will accelerate revitalization in Downtown Wichita through promoting urban, walkable, people-oriented development and local art.
Gallery Alley, located at 616 E. Douglas Ave., will activate the underutilized space with several sculptures by local artists, a portable concert stage, a screen for movie nights, and seating for outdoor dining and leisure; local visual artists will be exhibited monthly in conjunction with the popular Final Friday art crawl. Providing a space for casual interaction and cultural exchange will pull Old Town patrons across the railroad underpass and strengthen the burgeoning retail and entertainment businesses on the block, while exposing Wichitans to a variety of artistic forms in a casual and intimate setting.
Shelly Prichard, President and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation, says, “We have seen what a tremendous catalyst the Pop-Up Urban Park has been at the Douglas and Market area of downtown, and are happy to support another forward-thinking urban design concept in the core of our city. This project integrates the arts and provides exposure for emerging artists to become entrepreneurs.”
Launched on a one-year pilot basis, the alley will be closed off to Douglas Avenue with the installation of a parklet – artfully designed by local sculptor Lisa Rundstrom – in front of the curb cut and bollards, also acting as bike parking at the rear. This unifies the block as a pedestrian-friendly space while providing an opportunity for the businesses on the block to collaborate and share their unique vibes in a public-facing realm.
“We expect Gallery Alley to become a well-recognized and beloved public space that accelerates revitalization in our urban core, and furthers the vision set forth in Project Downtown: The Master Plan for Wichita,” says Jason Gregory, Executive Vice President of the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation.
The Gallery Alley project is a partnership between the Wichita Community Foundation and Knight Foundation, the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and Bokeh Development.
To celebrate, and kick off activities in the park, the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) will hold a Grand Opening on Friday, May 26, 2017.