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Art has a way of bringing people together. Communities all over the world are using art to unite residents in its creation. Art projects rooted in local participation cultivate societal bonds and enhance neighborhoods making them fun places to live and play. Get inspired to do the same in your neck of the wood, using these examples (big and small) of what results when neighbors get creative, collectively.
Get to Stitching
Yarn bombs have become more popular in the past few years as way bring fun color in unexpected places. One of my favorite examples of this was Pittsburg’s Knit the Bridge project where the Andy Warhol Bridge was covered in knitted, crocheted, and woven textiles. It took 580 knitted blankets to cover the 1061-foot long bridge, created by children, senior citizens and special needs groups in the city.
Turn Eyesores into Eye Candy
In just about any town, you’ll find abandoned buildings. In Detroit, local artists collaborated to turn an abandoned apartment building into a massive community art project. With no plans for active use of the building, the purpose was to simply create a visual representation that while Detroit was struggling to get back on it’s feet, life and creativity flourishes there.
In Vancouver, neighbors gathered to create colorful murals on the street. Inspired by Portland’s City Repair initiative, local artist Sonja Mulabdic worked with Viva Vancouver to transform the city’s West End neighborhood. The street murals not only fostered community and improved the look of the urban locale, but it has also slowed down traffic as drivers take in the art.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden in Solomons, Maryland has a community arts residency program for those interested in public art projects. How great is that? The large garden has plenty of space for artists of ages to express their creative side. One of my favorite projects is made with recycled bottles. Known as Pillars: Wishes for a Better World, the installation encourages visitors to share wishes and over 1,100 wishes were made.
Make Art with a Power Message
Joel Bergner is a street artist whose work is known for social justice messaging. He’s traveled the world from Kenya to Brazil to Syria, working with locals in bringing attention to their culture. In Kolkata, India, he collaborated with local artists and teenagers to tell their stories of having overcome obstacles such as human trafficking and homelessness. The 100-foot long mural on the south side of the city is symbolic of how far the city has come.