We’re excited to introduce Kim Holleman’s IDEAS CITY project, Trailer Park: A Mobile Public Park!

IDEAS CITY, a biennial Festival in New York City from May 1 – May 4, explores the future of cities around the globe with the belief that arts and culture are essential to the vitality of urban centers, making them better places to live, work, and play. This year’s theme is Untapped Capital, with participants focused on resources that are under-recognized or underutilized in our cities. Learn more at www.ideas-city.org.

NAME: Kim Holleman

PROJECT: Trailer Park: A Mobile Public Park

Brief description of the project:

Trailer Park: A Mobile Public Park is a living public park housed inside a fourteen-foot silver trailer that is 100 percent “street legal.” At Trailer Park, people can walk inside to go outside! The trailer houses a number of features that you might find at any other park, including brick planter beds, concrete and wooden benches, a winding stone path, trees, shrubs, vines, succulents, a fish pond, flowers, and even tiny insects and mushrooms every spring and fall. And the best part about it—it can go anywhere!

When and where can we see your project?

Trailer Park will be on view at the StreetFest component of IDEAS CITY, which is happening on Saturday May 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. around the Bowery. Trailer Park will also show at galleries and creative events throughout the summer, which I list on my website at kimholleman.com. I am also currently working with a school in Brooklyn to bring Trailer Park there as a joint initiative of the Science and Art Departments.

What are you doing to prepare for the Festival?

I have the best preparations you could possibly imagine—I plant! In the spring, I love to wake up Trailer Park from her winter slumber. I am always getting new ideas about what I might introduce. Last year, I planted a lot of mint so that it would root down over the winter. Now, I get to see if it spread out and will pop throughout the soil as the spring starts turning to summer. I am also currently preparing for a solo exhibition that is happening in tandem with IDEAS CITY. The exhibition, entitled “Uncanny Valley,” will be shown at SenaSpace, at 229 Centre Street, opening this Thursday April 11. So I am spending a lot of my time both creating new art as well as planting for Trailer Park.

Why did you want to be a part of IDEAS CITY?

My public artwork resonates across a variety of disciplines and reaches many different audiences in a social in-the-street context. Trailer Park asks visitors to contemplate more serious ideas, while still experiencing a fun, vibrant, and engaging project. These are the things that began this great connection to IDEAS CITY. Trailer Park aligns perfectly with the mission of IDEAS CITY, a Festival where innovation, media, communities, and arts meet, and StreetFest is a great platform to display the project in an accessible and social environment.

How does your project address the theme of Untapped Capital?

Greening the urban environment is an important topic today among artists, urban planners, and civic-minded designers. I have worked within the city zoning restrictions to make Trailer Park mobile and street legal, so that it can interact with the urban environment in its original form. As a result, I’m able to provide much-needed green space in the urban environment of New York City, which I believe is our city’s Untapped Capital. In my opinion, people largely underestimate the power of and need for a relationship with the natural world. One visitor to Trailer Park once wrote in the guest book, “If every block in NYC had one of these, crime would go down.” I really get that.

Other than Trailer Park, what is your favorite park in New York City? Why?

I am absolutely torn! I have two different loves in New York City Parks and they could be categorized as “old school” and “new school.”  My sentimental old-school favorite is Gramercy Park. I know it’s a bit ostentatious as far as parks go, but it’s a connection to an old New York; it has the slatted wood and metal benches, the lamp posts, and even the low stanchions with chains bordering the lawns. In my mind, it perfectly represents old-school “parkitecture,” in which every feature of the park belongs to one unifying design. My favorite new-school park, on the other hand, is the waterfront park at Governor’s Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. It has it all: brilliant landscaping design with enough rustic wildness to be able to roam about and feel lost and smell nothing but green in the air. It has forest-height trees and public art and pathways with little spontaneous moments everywhere. And on top of all of that, a view of the water! It’s my gold-star winner.

What is the change you would most like to see in New York City?

Mandatory roof gardens on all viable roof real estate in New York City by 2020.