One of the perks of living in a small-ish town, is that you can experience first hand the effects of your local work. Although most of my clients are out of state, and frequently out of the country, doing work for local arts organizations allows me to see the effects of my designs much closer to home. Since arriving in Eugene Oregon 15 years ago, I have had the pleasure of designing for both the Eugene Ballet and Eugene Opera companies. Best of all, I get to sit in the audience and watch all of that hard work presented to the people who live in my wider community. Since my freelance work often includes designing environments and attractions in countries I may never get a chance to visit, it is rare that I can participate from the beginning to the end of an artistic assignment. Taking on local work also allows me to show off all the work that went into a project, while most of my theme park work, may forever remain top secret.
Last year I had the opportunity to visit my first Faerieworlds festival, an event that has been held near Eugene for several years. Last year the festival moved to a new location, and the fair site was feeling the initial growing plans of relocating from its previous treed vineyard to a flat and open field. Although we had a good time, I couldn’t help notice a few missed opportunities in the layout. With my mixed experience laying out both Renaissance Faires and theme park attractions, I asked mutual friend Mark Lewis to introduce me to the event’s creators. This started a fast friendship with Robert Gould, the head of Imaginosis, the folks responsible for presenting the festival. He graciously allowed me to suggest changes and introduce a few philosophical notions that could potentially add to the already popular event.
This came together as the layout for this year’s festival which was held the weekend of July 30th, 2010. The goal was to create a meandering “village” that allowed a little more exploration and discovery then the previous layout. The second goal was to set a precedent for future events, confirming to each year’s visitors that Faerieworlds is committed to growing and improving, and that the promoters are doing their best to give their audience the Brigadoon-like community that they had grown to look forward to each year.
Above is one of the early concept models for the new layout, with several more iterations coming afterward. Here you can see the seeds of our idea, and our desire to create a sense of neighborhoods connecting larger gathering spaces. We are already talking about next year’s event, but best of all this year I got to experience, “on the ground”, how these few new ideas and layout changes can effect and grow an already popular festival.
To see some great photos of the event, visit the Faerieworlds Gallery site for 2010 here.