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‘Portal’ points way toward R Street’s future

Video: Art 'Portal' points to Sacramento future

The interactive 'Portal' art tunnel aims to inspire and point to future of Sacramento's R Street. Video by Ed Fletcher.
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The interactive 'Portal' art tunnel aims to inspire and point to future of Sacramento's R Street. Video by Ed Fletcher.

For decades, Sacramento’s Crystal Ice and Cold Storage plant on R Street was a picture of girt, decay and delay. But with work underway to rehabilitate the buildings, developers are turning to a temporary interactive art “Portal” will help reverse that image.

Portal, as the name suggests, aims to be symbol of things to come for both Sacramento and R Street, said Tre Borden, a co-project manager.

The structure – previewed Thursday evening at the Hacker Lab where its being fabricated – is a 12’ tall mirrored tunnel with programmable LED light panels that will be motion sensitive and respond to social media participation, Borden said. It’s expected to be installed on R Street between 16th and 18th streets on Aug. 21.

The Capitol Area Development Authority, which oversees the R Street corridor, contributed $7,000 toward the structure. The total project cost is $11,000, Borden said.

Landscape, architecture and design firm Quadriga and Hacker Lab are making in-kind contributions.

“It’s just meant to show what is possible,” said Borden, referring both technologically and working as a community.

Over its weeks-long runs, various Sacramento non-profits are expected to take advantage of the space by hosting events nearby, including a food literacy event, lectures, and a silent disco. On Sept 17, the tunnel moves across the river to West Sacramento for the TBD (music) Festival.

CADA officials said they were happy to back the relatively inexpensive project.

“The portal helps showcase the completion of a larger investment CADA made into the R Street Streetscape project. It provides a glimpse into the type of activities that will be seen at this location once the Ice Block Development is finished,” said Todd Leon, the R Street Development Manager for CADA.

R Street is a Sacramento corridor on the move, with development jumping along after year of decay. The $3.6 million Crystal Ice project aims to re-purpose 200,000 square feet of shopping, dining, living and work spaces. The less historic buildings will be torn down to create 145 apartment lofts.

Borden and Garza said the project is an example of “tactical urbanism,” which seeks to refine urban environments into functional spaces that reflects the community desires. The duo seem to take pride the in low cost of the project and the lack bureaucratic deliberation.

“You don’t need a million (dollars) to do something cool for the community,” Borden said. “You also don’t need to have two years of meeting.”

The interactive 'Portal' art tunnel aims to inspire and point to future of Sacramento's R Street. Video by Ed Fletcher.

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