Emily Larned, chair of the graphic design program and assistant professor at Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD), will reveal her project Pleasure Beach Lives, a proposal to turn Pleasure Beach into an eco-friendly arts destination during the Bridgeport Arts Fest this Saturday, July 7. She will distribute a letterpress printed poster that points to the website she created for this project, http://pleasurebeachlives.org.

In 1996, a fire destroyed a bridge connecting to Pleasure Beach and its now-defunct amusement park. Crowds drifted, remaining cottages were demolished, as was much of the amusement park, and in their stead came wildlife, flora, and fauna. Those “grand architectural ruins [are] so emblematic of Bridgeport, but show what happens when nature reclaims land,” says Larned. “It is urban seaside decay, naturally reborn—a truly inspiring site.”

The beauty of the land inspired Larned to pitch her grassroots proposal.

“We hope to bring people out via organized walks and invitations to get involved in projects and attend openings. We do believe that just getting people out to Pleasure Beach will be transformative over time. Right now a lot of people don’t realize they can walk there from Stratford. I believe bringing people to experience and to make eco-sensitive site-specific art work in this spectacular outdoor setting will be transformative for the city. I’m envisioning something that will be a place of wonder for Bridgeport residents and visitors alike.”

The jury selected by Bridgeport Arts + Cultural Council agreed, and Larned received a Mayor’s Neighborhood Arts & Heritage Grant to design, print, and distribute the letterpress poster promoting this project at the Bridgeport Arts Fest (http://bridgeportartsfest.com), which will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at McLevy Green in downtown Bridgeport.

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu