Title: The Concrete Blog: Messages on the Wall (Florida Humanities Council Mini-Grant)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084110/00002
 Material Information
Title: The Concrete Blog: Messages on the Wall (Florida Humanities Council Mini-Grant)
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Haas, Stephanie
Publication Date: 2007
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084110
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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The Florida Humanities Council, Project Director's Report (www.flahum.orq click on Mini Grant go to Post Funding Forms)
Evaluations of FHC projects are critical in providing quality humanities programs. Your thoughtful comments are
important contributions to the creation and improvement of public humanities programs in our state. Please
return this form (with as many additional pages as needed) to the FHC office. Form available in Word format
from the Grants Director.

Your Name: Stephanie C. Haas

Address: Digital Library Center, University of Florida Libraries, P.O. Box 117001,
Gainesville, FL 32611-7001

Phone: (352)846-0129

Grant Number: 0806-3237MG-1914

Project Title: Concrete Blog: Messages on the Wall

Date(s) of Project: 9/13/2006-7/12/07

1. Were you able to remain faithful to the work plan outlined in the FHC grant application?
Which aspects, if any, of the plan were difficult to fulfill and why?

In general, we were able to follow the work plan that was outlined. We created an online
album of photographs of wall images with contributions from the community

Top Level Page of Web site

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Thumbnail images from the Wall collections

Richard Heipp gave his presentation The 34th Street Wall: Musings, Mementos and Mischief
on April 12 at the Matheson.

An unplanned opportunity to obtain an extensive retrospective collection of wall images
precipitated the planning and execution of an outdoor exhibit of images on the UF campus.
This exhibit was a 96' long two-sided panel of images and featured the photographic efforts
of Dr. JeffLaskin. It was open for viewing April 10-12 from 10-2. Approximately, 1,500
postcards and bookmarks describing the project, the exhibit, and the Heipp lecture at the
Matheson were distributed. Later this spring and summer, the images will be on exhibit at
the Alachua County Public Library headquarters, the Tower Road Branch and the
Millhopper Branch. In the fall, a selection of images will be available for viewing at the
Matheson Museum.

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Liability issues prevented Ray Hale, the photography instructor at Santa Fe Community
College from conducting class exercises at the wall, but community members including
project team members have recorded many of the significant messages that have been
painted during the grant period. Additionally, Mark Dolan who was to create audio clips of
wall painters has remained out of the country, but we still hope to add clips at a later date.

Questions 2. A necessary ingredient of a successful public humanities project is interaction
among humanities scholars and non-academic members of the community. How well did these
groups cooperate in this project?

Throughout the project, community members were asked to send in photographs of the wall to
share on the web site. Thirty-seven photographers are represented in the collection of 229
images that are presently on the web site.

Question 3-4. Number in audience? Did targeted groups attend? How enthusiastic was the
audience? List lecturers/panelists/presenters/consultants, and comment upon their knowledge of
the topic, enthusiasm, bias, effect upon the audience, and ability to engage in discussion with the
audience. Assign ratings and add pages as needed.

Richard Heipp is an associate professor of art and art history at the University of Florida.
His April 12 evening lecture The 341' Street Wall: Musings, Mementos and Mischief at the
Matheson Museum was attended by 50-55 people. This is the approximate capacity of the
main lecture room in the Museum. Of the 18 evaluations received from non-academic
members of the community, all but two rated the program as excellent; the others rated it
Good. Four of the respondents indicated that Professor Heipp's discussion bordered on an

art history lecture and would have enjoyed more on the wall itself. After Mr. Heipp's
lecture, an open discussion of the wall revealed that audience members had many interesting
historical anecdotes about the wall. All of the participants were encouraged to write their
memories of wall incidents and share them through the web site.

Evaluations consistently mentioned the excellence of the presentation, the fact that the wall
does contribute to the "sense of community", and the majority found the topic extremely
interesting and relevant to Gainesville's history. One comment summarizes the enthusiasm
generated by this project "I love the wall, the way it mirrors the feelings of the community.
It teaches-it entertains-it shares-it shames-it makes us laugh & it makes [us] cry. It makes us
think! It makes us feel! Thank you for all your work. I'm glad you took the time."

5. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the program. How could the program have been
strengthened? What would you do differently with similar projects in the future?

The strength of the Concrete Blog project is that it truly is a community project. It is open
to everyone, just as writing on the wall is open to everyone. The project team believes that
by starting to collect the images now, the Matheson will be well placed to indefinitely curate
this unique visual history of local, regional, and national events.

The weakness of this visual collection is that often times we have only the image and not the
history of the event that precipitated its painting. We hope that as the web site becomes
visited more frequently, users will share their knowledge of the events and painters who
worked on the wall.

6. What impact did your program have? How and where did it make a difference? What
were your objectives? How did you measure the outcomes?

The objectives of this project were to begin a systematic and comprehensive collection of
the messages that have been written on the 34th street wall. We were particularly interested
in collecting earlier images starting when the wall was constructed in 1979. Jeff Laskin's
willingness to contribute his images for historical research purposes have provided the
historical core we sought. We now have images from 1989 on; however, we will continue
to seek early images. At this point, we have 220 images in the online album with several
dozen waiting to be added. The second objective of this project was to raise awareness in
Gainesville about the wall's role as a community diary. This was achieved through the
well-attended lecture by Richard Heipp and the outside wall exhibit at the Plaza of the
Americas on UF's campus. Future wall exhibits at the public libraries will be mounted as
soon as the images can be framed for travel.

7. How was this project publicized and promoted? What was most effective?

The project was publicized through several media.

Articles were written for the UF alumni newsletter, both print and electronic; for the
Alligator, student newspaper; and for the Senior Times. A Daybreak front page article
written by Gary Kirkland was published in the Gainesville Sun on April 7
chID=73278253783499 ] The online article was accompanied by a video of the wall in the
News tab of Suntube. [http://gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=video]
Posters were printed and distributed throughout Gainesville.
Bookmarks were available at the downtown Alachua County Public Library Headquarters
and the Matheson Museum.
Public service news releases were sent to the mailing list used by the Matheson Museum for
all of its projects. Invitations to the Heipp lecture were sent to the 450 members of the
Matheson. As events occurred, additional requests for interviews for individual student
articles and for the local WUFT radio station were filled. Copies of all publicity are

Because of the breadth of coverage of the project, it is difficult to know which promotional
avenues were most effective. We do know that Jeff Laskin found out about the project
through the article in the Senior Times.

It is likely that the outside exhibit at the University of Florida was responsible for drawing
students to the downtown lecture. The Gainesville Sun article ran on the Saturday before
the lecture and probably impacted attendance at the lecture as well. Although the question
on "how did you hear about this program?" was included on the evaluation form, most
responded Other and did not provide additional information.

Looking at statistics of the Website use from Google Analytics shows that during April,
peak use of the site occurred after the publishing of the Gainesville Sun article on April 7
with 155 page views and again on April 12 with 78 page views. This peak coincided with
the outdoor exhibit of images and Richard Heipp's lecture on the 12th.

-4 Visits and Pageviews
Average: 2.23 P/V
Visits Visits: 345 Pageviews
70 Pagevievs; 769 200

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Sun 4/1 Fri 46 Wed 411 Sun 4/15
Visits J Pageviews Show All Hide All

Of equal interest in the distribution of people accessing the site which has grown from a
Florida based group to what appears to be access from Hawaii.

-[ Geo Map Overlay


8. What did you learn? What surprises did you experience? Would you do this again? What
would you change and why?

I believe that the Concrete Blog could serve as a model for developing projects around other
local landmarks. As Richard Heipp noted in his talk, the wall has a beguiling "innocence"
about it in that it is often used to express emotional issues that have personal and community

Over and over as the project team talked with citizens and students, everyone expressed
interest in the messages that have been written on the wall and were appreciative that
someone was making an effort to collect and share them. The greatest surprise was the
willingness of citizens to contribute their images and to spread the word about the project.
Personally, I think the project promoted a sense of "delight" in discovering the history of the
wall. Many people recognized images and knew something about the painters or had some
tale to tell of the wall. I'm hoping that we can gather these wall tales and add them to the
growing documentation of the wall.

There is no doubt that all of the team participants in this project would agree to participate
again. Most of us feel that we have made a positive contribution to helping Gainesville to
create a record of its most ephemeral landmark and we all hope to continue to build the
collection of images for research and personal use.

Project Director: Stephanie C. Haas

Signature: tu :~~qL D- -42/

Date: 4/28/2007

FHC MINI GRANT Sponsor Cost Share
Cash and In-Kind Contributions

FHC Grant # 0806-3237MG-1914

Project Director Signature: aI4 o d t -

In-Kind Contributions:

Date Volunteer Signature Goods or Services $ Value
Nov George A. Smathers Libraries Printing of posters and 106.25
2006- 500 book marks
4/7/07 Paid to University Copy & More by Color printing of 390.64
Stephanie C. Haas postcards on wall
exhibit used at open air
exhibit and in public
Aug George A. Smathers Libraries Staff time for image $1392.93
2006- manipulation and
April archiving, creation of
2007 metadata, web design,
selection and printing
of images for exhibit
April George A. Smathers Libraries Purchase of paper and 789.96
2007 ink cartridges used to
print exhibit images
April Matheson Museum Postage/postcards 56.60
Nov Matheson Museum Miscellaneous supplies 15.00
Nov Matheson Museum Vounteer Hours 100.00
Nov Matheson Museum Staff Hours 390.00
In Kind Contribution Total 3,241.38

iA -- *v

Mini Grant
See Instructions below

Check payable to: University of Florida

Mail check to: Office of Contracts & Grants, UF
302 Tigert Hall

P.O. Box 113001

FHC Grant No.


Project Title: Concrete Blog

UF Project #00063507

Gainesville, FL 32611-3001

Organization Tax I.D. # 11-06-024056-57C

Project Director: Stephanie Haas
Social Security# 345-40-1891

FHC Award 2,000 Sponsor Cost Share $3,241
UF portion $2,679.78
INITIAL Matheson Museum $561.22
Request anytime after contract is in effect (signed and conditions met)

Include evaluation form and final financial statement of cost share

Total $5,241


Amount $500.00


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Project Director

Dat 'L


1. You may request $1,500.00 any time after your contract is in effect (contract letter signed and conditions met).
2. The remaining $500.00 will be paid when you submit copies of your publicity materials, your final project director's
report, and the sponsor cost share form is submitted.

Record of Payments
Date Ck. No. Amount Cumulative


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