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Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas (marksearch) collaborating with Friends of Oakland Parks & Recreation
Award: $40,000 Visual Arts Grant awarded 2007
Completed: “Walking the Invisible City” tours, August 2011; “10,000 Steps: A Profile of Four Squares,”  film presented at the 10th Annual Oakland International Film Festival, April 6, 2012

Sue Mark and L.. Bruce Douglas’s project,  “10,000 Steps,” worked to draw attention to four downtown Oakland parks—Lafayette, Madison, Jefferson, and Lincoln Square— that were designed as part of the original 1852 Oakland plan to be green cornerstones for the city. Over the years, they parks had declined and the artists’ sought to reconnect the community to their history and potential.

The project developed in two phases. First, equipped with friendly uniforms and a whimsical work cart, the artists visited the parks to carry out clean-ups, plantings, and conversations. Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation helped coordinate the interactions with the neighbors and community groups. In the second phase, Mark and Douglas used the stories, images, and walking patterns gathered during their research phase to develop a series of self-guided walking tours that led people from downtown Oakland into the four parks. Walkers were guided by the artists’ 37 unique sidewalk medallions,  printed map-guides to the parks, and a temporary audio tour (by cellphone) and web log. They also created a documentary video for the project.

marksearch (Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas) is an artistic, cultural research team formed in 2000. Its interactive projects invite people to reflect on their local communities and on urban space.  Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation works to improve the quality of life for all Oakland citizens by generating support for projects and programs that enhance recreational, environmental, educational, beautification and leisure activities offered through the Parks and Recreation Department.