Experiencing Kingston Creative’s Artwalk Downtown
by Stephanie Koathes Sep 9, 2019
Earlier in 2019, I explored the Wynwood Art District and it landed on my list of five things to do in Miami . Wynwood, a formerly crime-stricken area, has become a major tourist draw with over 200 vibrant street murals. My experience at Kingston Creative’s Artwalk, held on the last Sunday of every month, reminded me of my visit to Wynwood.
Embracing street art as a way to uplift communities isn’t a new concept in Jamaica. The stunning murals at 42 Fleet Street were pioneering, and a visit is on the list of Kingston’s culturally aware visitors. Kingston Creative is stepping up the scale in their bid to turn Downtown Kingston into Jamaica’s Art District in the way that Wynwood has become Miami’s.
The Artwalk is a full roster of events. You can find things like yoga on the waterfront in the morning, an architectural walk, and a market over the course of the day. The central hub is F &B Downtown (inside Swiss Stores) at 107 Harbour Street, and this is where I started my Artwalk exploration. A narrow road off this main thoroughfare had been turned into a mural-lined market space.
My first stop was the augmented reality mural. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I no idea what an augmented reality mural was. It simply looked like a nice painting, nothing extraordinary – until I opened the app necessary for viewing. I stood in the street and positioned my phone camera so that the mural filled the app window and watched as the static image morphed into motion graphics. The animation explained about the artist and history of the area. This is the first of 20 such planned murals Downtown.
A derelict old building without a roof, and with vines growing along one wall, has been cleaned out and hosts a stage and more art. An artist painted, and his creation took shape, as onlookers watched taking photos and videos.
Walking along the market street, I saw everything from local honey to jewellery and adorable miniature succulents. There was food as well; jerk chicken sizzling away in a drum, crab, and other goodies.
Kingston Creative’s Artwalk is already having a transformative effect on the space they’re operating in. The event is drawing in more and more people who would ordinarily avoid Downtown Kingston (including this writer), and it’s a wonderful thing for our capital city.