Recent years have shown Bucharest’s enthusiasm for alternative forms of artistic and cultural manifestation. Street Delivery is just one such initiative, aiming to return the city to its rightful owners, the people, through a three-day marathon of music, street theater, dance, open-air movie projections, water fights, sight-seeing, charitable events and NGO presentations, story-telling, cooking and socializing, among many other activities.
Already on its fifth edition, Street Delivery is a lobby initiative aimed at the Bucharest City Hall, calling for the widening of sidewalks across Bucharest, the creation of a pedestrian underground passage to cross Magheru Boulevard and the construction of multi-storey car parks. The event’s wide array of artistic activities takes place annually on Arthur Verona Street, which is closed to motor vehicles, allowing access only to pedestrians and cyclists. In 2009, Street Delivery attracted between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors and is expected to do at least the same in 2010.
Although simply described as a lobbying occasion, the event can be characterized as anything but simple. Street Delivery has over the years developed into one of the most versatile and alternative cultural events in Bucharest, gathering artists from a range of disciplines, both novice s and big names, along with well-known promoters of social causes. Due to the ongoing financial crisis, Romanian artists have agreed to perform at Street Delivery this year on a pro bono basis.
Iulian Vacarean is one of the participants who have been inspired by Street Delivery. It was here that “Pasi catre viata” (“Steps towards life”) was born, an initiative consisting of a series of cultural-urban events taking place in unconventional spaces, all for the benefit of child cancer sufferers at the Marie Curie hospital. At Street Delivery, Iulian calls himself a professional lemonade maker, and the lemonade that he and his colleagues make is sold for RON 7 (around EUR 1.5), with proceeds donated to the children at the hospital. In 2009, EUR 2,400 was collected for Iulian’s cause – building a sterile room for the pediatric oncology department at Marie Curie hospital – a small, yet significant part of the necessary sum of EUR 20,000. This year, the lemonade makers have diversified their range with home-made cookies and other natural products, encouraging passers-by not simply to make donations, but to receive something in exchange for their kindness.
Street Delivery not only brings the streets back to pedestrians, reviving the public space’s original purpose, it also reminds work-addicted adults and children who have been raised indoors of the importance of outdoor activities and forgotten childhood games. Children learn to play the interactive games that their parents grew up with, with adults joining them and recreating their childhood fun without embarrassment.
The projects that form part of Street Delivery are selected by event representatives through an open competition that usually takes place at the end of May. According to Codin Oraseanu, one of the event’s organizers, this year 250 projects were submitted for the event, which took place between 11 and 13 June. For the first time, Street Delivery was held simultaneously in Bucharest and Timisoara, where the event is already on its fourth edition. Timisoara is the only other city in Romania in which Street Delivery is held, and there is currently no intention to take it elsewhere. At the moment, the project’s goal is to reach its targets in Bucharest.
All the Street Delivery activities have rediscovering Bucharest’s attractions as their main purpose. Oraseanu says that the project was originally an initiative of the Architects’ Order, now co-organizers of the event, with a total investment of around EUR 10,000 in 2010, to which was added EUR 6,000 from the Ministry of Culture and the resources invested by the Carturesti foundation. What’s more, Street Delivery has now reached a level of fame and independence that frees it from relying on sponsors whose ethos runs contradictory to the event’s values.
Although the urban area plan drawn up by the Architects’ Order that would transform the area delineated by Ci