I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks re-working Holly Kai Park. This came about for a couple of reasons: I found that trying to run this blog, spend time relaxing in-world with Caitlyn (and running the bar) as giving time to that “real life” thing, meant trying to organise up to six artists per month to exhibit at the park each month got to be just a little too much. So for the last several months I’ve been mulling over precisely what to do with the park and pulling at the threads around the edges with little changes here and there.
In the end, it was a visit to Erebos Harbor (which you can read about here) that spurred an idea for me. Not to try to replicate that outstanding build by Leaf and Julz, but rather take the idea of an observatory and use that as the focal point for a new gallery space and revised park layout. And not just any observatory; there is one in particular I’ve always loved visiting when on the West Coast of the USA, which has a design I find captivating: Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. So a lot of my time for around the last 10 days has been focused on in-world building and poking and prodding with ideas.
Things still aren’t entirely finished – there are the inevitable nips and tucks, and one or two things may yet be tweaked, but hopefully the news design and layout for the park is now complete. This being the case, and allowing for said tweaks and the cleaning-up of sawdust from prim cutting and the shavings from mesh trimming, I’d thought I’d offer a note about what’s been done so far.
As noted above, the gallery building has been inspired by the major elements of the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles California – as I hope those familiar with that building will recognised. It’s not an exact replica of the Griffith; essentially I’ve taken the two main wings with their telescope domes, the main entrance and the rotunda of the planetarium and cut away some of the structure to the rear of the original (and all the underground bits!). I’ve also (for now!) left out the external stairways up to the roof and the telescope domes.
Inside, the design encompasses four linked parts: the foyer / entrance area, two gallery spaces contained within the building’s wings and an events space in the rotunda at the back of the building for exhibition openings. The gallery spaces can either be used for individual exhibits of art (allowing Holly Kai to display two artists at a time) or for a single display spanning both wings. It’s a little Spartan inside as of now, as I’m still mulling over interior fixtures and lighting.
Just below the gallery is a large terrace area with lawns and cypress trees. This is currently home to two interactive 3D art installations: Ice Castle by Giovanna Cerise and Reflections at Midnight by Frankx LeFarve; a smaller piece by Frankx is also displayed on one of the lawns. This terrace and lawns will be used to present 3D art from various artists and friends quite separately from any exhibitions within the gallery.
Given this is a radical makeover for the park, we have a new landing point. This is located within a new information centre, which might be a little cramped, so we’ll see how it goes and perhaps move it outdoors if people find it an issue. The info centre is still being equipped, but there is a large map of the park on one wall to allow visitors to get oriented, and which has information on the park and on Seanchai Library, whom we’re honoured to have as partners sharing the grounds with us.
The map has a couple of active web links in it – click the blue URLs to go to either the Holly Kai Park website and blog or to Seanchai Library’s website. Once things have settled down and the sawdust from cutting prims has been cleared away, active teleport links will be added to the map as well.
Also in the centre is a donations kiosk for Feed A Smile. We don’t take venue tips at the park, but we do ask that those who enjoy a visit to consider making a donation of L$100 at the kiosk (one the others to be found at various points in the park and its facilities) to help feed a young child in Kenya – and yes, as incredible as it may sound, L$100 is enough to provide a Kenyan child with a hot meal!
Between the information point and the Gallery terraces, is a “mid-level” terrace. This is home to the Holly Kai Café, with seating indoors and out (and I may be expanding the outdoor area to create a little more room! I also have a small studio area on this level for my SL photographs.
Getting between the terraces is achieved via the stairways – just look for the stone steps on the east side waterfront and follow the grass paths – everything is signposted as well!
One of the things that has bugged me about the park design – and it’s been entirely my fault – is that on the east side it’s always felt as if it’s not a single park area, but three distinct parts of a region that aren’t really related other than by position: the Art Hill, with Seanchai Library to the south, and Caitinara Bar and the Medici Collection – 2D and 3D art from Nber Medici’s personal collection – to the north.
Replacing the Art Hill with the new design has allowed me to rectify this. Paths from the gallery and its terraces now directly link to Seanchai Library and to the Medici Collection (the former path also giving access to the Park Walk that leads via an under-tree trail to the Pavilion and our bumper boats pool). This will, I hope mean that these three elements now feel part of a contiguous park looking out over the water.
Caitinara Bar, meanwhile, has been re-oriented to face the park’s bay with its piers for visiting boats. It also has an expanded outdoor seating area which linking it to one of the ways up to the gallery terraces. All of this will hopefully again make the bar feel more a part of the park as a whole. As a result of this, there’s also an updated landing point for Caitinara Bar.
The piers have mooring for up to 2 hours – small to medium-sized boats are welcome. Boats can be re-rezzed in the waters between the piers, if required.
There have been some revisions to the Pavilion events area on the west side of the park. At the time of writing, this is still a work in progress, with potential further changes to be made as we strive to make this a more flexible area of a wide variety of events. The landing point, however, remains unchanged and also serves the park’s bumper boats.
These changes have obviously resulted in some extensive changes to the park itself. However, the park walk looping around the base of the gallery hill remains in place, and offers the way to various secluded spots visitors are free to enjoy.
So that’s it! I’m still working on bits here and there, as noted, but if you fancy dropping by, you’re welcome to so so and as of today unlike to find the grounds cluttered with bits of mesh or face the risk of a building suddenly rezzing overhead – or the ground beneath you suddenly moving (or vanishing!).
All location are on Holly Kai Estates, rated: Moderate