20ft WIDE was a collaborative city-nonprofit initiative to temporarily transform a downtown alley into a vibrant public open space. A temporary gossamer sculpture installed above the alley provided a backdrop for a series of cultural programs, food and interactive activities that encouraged conversation about the role of alleys as public space in downtown Austin.
The 20ft WIDE Alley Activation Project launched a conversation about the critical role urban alleys play in the character and grain of downtown urban centers. With limited public open space in downtown Austin, this event and the participating artists urged the community and policy makers alike to imagine the possibilities for reactivating the physical spaces that make up our downtown alley network. 20ft WIDE caught the attention of Urban Land Magazine and was the featured cover story of the July/Austin 2013 issue.
The art installation was created by Dan Cheetham and Michelle Tarsney. Creative Action, an Austin-based arts in education organization, hosted "Peace Cranes" at Art City Austin, providing an opportunity for young people and their families to fold 1,000 paper cranes. These tiny pieces of art and meaning were incorporated into the overall installation. "Peace Cranes" promotes the conversation about building a peaceful community and provides a means for families to directly participate in the transformation of the alley.