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Valentine Theatre dot This dot in front of the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo is one of 100 dots that are part of the 'You Are Here' project.
This dot in front of the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo is one of 100 dots that are part of the 'You Are Here' project.
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Published: Friday, 5/18/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Connecting the dots in Toledo

'You Are Here' artworks, QR codes help enliven city hot spots

BY RONEISHA MULLEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

You don't need a GPS to find your way through the streets of Toledo.

Brightly colored "dots" affixed to public places throughout the city will tell you exactly where you are through interesting art.

Inspired by the markers found on maps and directories, the "You Are Here" art project features the dots near 100 of the city's hot spots. Each dot contains a scannable QR code that allows smart phone users to learn more about the artwork, its location, and the artist via the You Are Here mobile app. The dot also has a URL for searching the work. An online map will be created and the first 100 people who scan 25 dots will receive a poster.

A Toledo School for the Arts student uses her QR code app to scan the dot in front of the school building. A Toledo School for the Arts student uses her QR code app to scan the dot in front of the school building.
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"This project really enlivens the environment and it gets people talking about Toledo," said Jenn Stucker, president of the American Institute of Graphic Artists, Toledo chapter, who came up with the concept after being approached by The Arts Commission. "It will force people, visitors, and our own community to really look at our city."

Crews began planting the three-foot dots earlier this week. While a large majority of them are downtown, they can be found as far south as the Stranahan Theater, as far east as the East Toledo Family Center, west to the Toledo Botanical Garden and as far north as the Point Place lighthouse.

All 100 dots will be in place by Tuesday, when the AIGA and The Arts Commission host a launch party for the project. The free public event will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre.

A call for artists yielded 218 submissions for the design contest. Four local jurors determined the winners, which includes high school and college students, graphic designers, photographers, and the general public. The artists were randomly assigned a location for which they created a one-of-a-kind dot. The artists used bright, bold colors that stand out and make the adhesives visible.

A dot featuring a woman with a hot-pink face, blue hair, and angel wings is located outside the Toledo School for the Arts. A white feline with green teeth and eyes that reflect the Huntington Center sign can be found outside the arena on the corners of Jefferson and Huron streets.

"When people click on them, they'll immediately get a sense of place," Ms. Stucker said. "They'll look at the list and say 'Oh yeah, I forgot about that place.' "

A dot in front of Grumpy's restaurant in the Warehouse District. A dot in front of Grumpy's restaurant in the Warehouse District.
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The effort was funded with $25,000 from the One Percent for Art program, a city ordinance that puts aside 1 percent of the city's capital improvement budget for public art.

CGS Imaging produced the dots using an eco-friendly, water-based latex ink. The dots stick to the sidewalks with adhesive. In October, the commission plans to remove them.

"They'll be out for many of the fall festivals, the Art Walk, Crosby Arts Festival, and some of the other events that bring people to the area," Ms. Stucker said. "But eventually they'll get dirty and lose their color. We're looking at how we may be able to refurbish them, but we won't know until we get there."

The project began in January, when the commission decided it wanted to launch a public art project in time for the Glass Art Society 42nd Annual Conference, Ms. Stucker said. About 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference, which takes place June 13-16 in Toledo.

"We'll have people from all over the world coming to Toledo," Ms. Stucker said. "This project includes 100 artists and 100 places in Toledo. It has great power."

Contact RoNeisha Mullen at rmullen@theblade.com or 419-724-6133.



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