The station was a three year long project for Foremost, involving many community stakeholders and resources to take shape. The Happy Motoring station sits at the crossroads of the city’s south and downtown neighborhoods, the two communities being very fractured in cultures for being so close together.
As a collective that focuses on building better communities, we wanted to engage the people living in the area to help us decide what to do to revitalize the Happy Motoring Station. We kicked off the project in Foremost flair with a Community Get Together, an event where southside inhabitants were invited to write down and tell us what they wanted us to build. In addition, we contacted our friends at Street Art Tallahassee to put together a pop-up gallery in the space, and asked our friends at Juniors Roasted Coffee to come out to do a campfire coffee roasting.
Battle of the boards
Part of what I wanted to do in creating Foremost was to show the city what talented creatives live and breathe there. So I rallied a crew of 5 of the best young artists I knew in the Illustration scene to Battle it out in a Battle of the Boards. A disclaimer, BOB is based on Ink Wars, an event series put on every year at Creative South in GA. The artists where each given an hour and a half to fill one of 5 eight foot tall boards with an illustration based on a word given to them at the time of the event. The theme was “knockout”, and the battle unfolded.
Conner Hill captured video documentation below.
Photos from the Event
Photographer Mallory L. Brooks was on the scene documenting the crowd. Over 200 community members and inhabitants came out to talk to us about the station and the event. All the photos below are from her shoot, also viewable on her blog.
Street Art Tallahassee
Chiara Saldivar and Daniel McCluskey from Street Art Tallahassee put together a pop up gallery of both their work and the work of artists from their collective.
Two boards we reserved for the community to write down their ideas for the space. We collected big ideas, small ideas, impossible ideas, and plausible ideas. After the event we catalogued all of the written items to review for what we would help the community gain.
Happy Motoring Brand
The happy motoring brand is inspired by road traveling and vintage navigation and maps due to the location’s former identity as an Esso Gas Station. The visual aesthetic is a mixture of mid-century modern colors and illustrations with the culture of southside Tallahassee to bring the elements into the modern day. A bridge between tradition and progression, the brand and the location seek to create a gathering place for cultural activities and fun.
Happy Motoring Website
I also designed a website template that got developed by local hacker Matt O’Hagan into a custom squarespace template for the station.
The Final Space
The space has its own tenants inside that rotate out frequently, coffee and tea shops, a bar, and food trucks outside the garage. The front lawn hosts community and culture events from all parts of the city, creating a convening place for the southside along a newly constructed elevated walking path.
The events have had outside impact and been featured in publications like the Bitter Southerner.
The indoor bar features a hand-painted sign by Stephen Leacock featuring a quote about the “Desperadoes” of Tallahassee as Ralph Waldo Emerson described its people during his time there.
Collateral & Ephemera
During the project, I created some handworked leather pieces for members of the founding crew. A leather strap key fob set, and a custom belt piece.