A Simple Spotlight Turns a Street Into Impromptu Performance Space

In Kansas City, the architect Dan Maginn focused a simple theatrical spotlight on the street and watched residents take the stage.

The architect Dan Maginn, who wrote GOOD's Square Feat miniseries, has been working on a plan to turn a stretch of 20th street in downtown Kansas City into a "more sustainable, walkable, bikeable, connectable street."

To help invest the community in the idea, Maginn wanted "to demonstrate how both planned and unplanned events happen on dynamic streets." To that end, he enlisted the help of a Scottish artist group called Sans Façon to help produce an event called Limelight.

Sans Façon convinced the city to shut off the street lights along one side of 20th street and replaced them with two high-intensity theatrical spotlights, focused on a small section of the sidewalk. As Maginn explained, these lights "bring out some latent performance-need in people."

Over the course of the night, Kansas Citians interacted with this impromptu public stage in a variety of ways. Some avoided it; some embraced it. Some came with planned performances; some just improvised.

See more images at the blog for Maginn's studio, El Dorado.