Major Projects: Times Square Business Improvement DistrictIn the autumn of 1993, I had just started to work with my agent in New York City, Vicki Morgan, of Morgan Gaynin, Inc. Well, Vicki started our partnership with a bang. She sent out our first joint promotion and soon got a call from Grey Entertainment. Grey was putting together a major marketing campaign for The Times Square Business Improvement District (BID), which was an alliance representing restaurants, theatres, and businesses in Times Square. They were interested in my work. That began a wonderful 10 years of working on exciting projects with talented people like Gretchen Dykstra, Peter Kohlmann, and Christine Krische. I was given the opportunity to contribute my energies to one of the most stimulating and vital places in the worldTimes Square. And it also kicked off my fortunate partnership with Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin of Morgan Gaynin, Inc.
The First Campaign
BannersThe "Cleaner, Safer, Brighter" banner shown at upper left was intended to signal the arrival of new lighting, new cleaning crews, and increased security for the Times Square neighborhood. Gretchen Dykstra, then the President of the BID, is shown at the installation of one of the banners. As businesses began to move in to Times Square, it became the NEW Times Square, and the banner at upper right indicated that. The NEW Times Square banners hung for several years and got a little worse for the wear, so we created a new NEW Times Square banner, shown above left. Above right, Gretchen Dykstra is shown at the installation of the "Welcome" banners, with the word "Welcome" in the six languages of the United Nations (not as clear cut and easy a task to get translated as one might expect.) These were created to welcome Pope John Paul's visit to New York City. ^ back to top of page
Broadway On Broadway
Taste of Times SquareThe folks at the Times Square BID knew how to throw a wing ding. TASTE OF TIMES SQUARE is an annual celebration of the huge variety of restaurants available to visitors. It happens every June, and the best Times Square restaurants are there - in booths - selling samples of some of their most popular offerings. Entry to the event is free, and the food is sold for a small ($2 or so) fee. There's music, entertainment for kids, and dancing. For a number of years. I worked on the print promotional work for TASTE OF TIMES SQUARE. The event was advertised by handing out thousands of flyers, by ads in the New York Times, New York magazine, neighborhood newspapers, and banners all over Times Square.
Shown above, three different flyers used in various years. (After the first year, we used the same basic design and changed the color palette.)
Times Square WebpageThe art for the web pages continued the color palettes established in the Times Square Guide Books - BRIGHT. What adjectives apply? Happy. Celebratory. Joyful. Optimistic. Kinetic. Busy. Colorful. Eclectic.
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Diary of a Confetti EngineerWhat a wild opportunity. Remember the milennium fears? My husband Kelly and I got our will in order and set off to be "Confetti and Airborne Material Engineers" for the humongous wing ding to end all wing dings (except for the Kumbh Mela in India, whch last attracted 70 million pilgrims, compared to the 1 million at the New Years Eve to the milennium in Times Square.) Turns out I got to be crew chief for a group of eight folks from all walks of life, who'd come together to throw confetti and airborne materials every hour on the hour for 24 hours. As the earth rotated on its axis, year 2000 was welcomed in successive time zones, and we celebrated each and every one. Note to self: next time wear protective arm guards to reduce bruising from the kick of the confetti cannon. Oh, yes, and I did art and wrote about the experience for The Dallas Morning News. To read the whole story of "Diary of a Confetti Engineer," click here. ^ back to top of page
Appreciation CertificatesThe officers at the BID gave out certificates of appreciation to the many, many people who made the New Years Eve event possible. For two years I designed the certificates, and also received one. My work with Times Square - the people and the place - was one of the greatest joys of my career. ^ back to top of page
CONTENTS:: The First Campaign
:: Broadway on Broadway
:: Guide Books
:: Big Art
:: Taste of Times Square
:: Times Square Webpage
:: Diary of a Confetti Engineer
:: Appreciation Certificates
MAJOR PROJECTSSpecial Section:
:: One Bullet
:: Faces of a Plague
:: Hyatt Regency Wall Sculptures
:: Today Marks the Beginning
:: Times Square
:: DART - Baylor Station
:: Love Field Sidewalk Proposal
:: Peace One Day
:: Be an Angel
:: Red Cross Blood Museum
:: Dallas Animal Shelter
KarenBlessen.com. Artist and writer. Cut paper collages, illustrations,
drawings, prints, stories, journal entries, public art, and photographs are
copyright Karen Blessen unless otherwise noted.