Downtown SmartPark Garage Is Site of Summer Art Installation

The 3,000 yellow rectangles on the structure look like computer codes.

"3,000 Yellow Rectangles on a Parking Garage," in the process of being installed on June 13, 2024. (Ash Stone)

A downtown parking garage is getting a serious summer glow-up.

The six-story SmartPark structure at 730 SW 10th Ave. near Multnomah County’s Central Library is getting pasted with 3,000 yellow rectangles. The site-specific installation by local artist Kaitlyn Carr is going up this weekend and will be on view through the end of September.

“I love that for a brief moment of time, it changes the way people look at the space and the site,” Carr says.

Carr, 31, is a member of after/time, an art gallery collective located right by the SmartPark at 735 SW 9th Ave. When the Portland Bureau of Transportation gave after/time permission to do a mural on the parking garage, Carr “jumped on the opportunity,” she says. Carr has been doing wheat-pasted, site-specific installations for the past couple of years, though they have mostly been interiors. This is her first exterior on such a massive scale.

Carr hand-cut all 3,000 rectangles out of rolls of Tyvek, the building envelope material commonly used for waterproofing. She draws artistic inspiration from the work of Jeanne-Claude and Christo, the late couple famous for wrapping landmark buildings all over the world in fabric and for creating installations such as The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979–2005. Carr hopes her work, too, creates a “gentle disturbance.”

The installation—with the straightforward title 3,000 Yellow Rectangles on a Parking Garage—is abstract and looks sort of digital, like a computer code. It covers two surfaces of the garage: one at Southwest 10th Avenue and Yamhill Street and one closer to Southwest 9th Avenue.

While she works, she listens to city noise like the MAX train passing or music coming from Director Park. She began the installation June 13. Passersby were not shy and shouted things like: “What is it?” “It looks like a seahorse!” And, “is it trying to spell something?”

“I love that reaction from people, where it’s kind of a surprise,” she says.

"3,000 Yellow Rectangles on a Parking Garage" by Kaitlyn Carr (Ash Stone)

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