City leaders in Minneapolis, Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago are contacting a local Cincinnati city beautification project to learn how they can start similar programs.
In Las Vegas, the City Council has announced a program to relieve blight from the doorsteps of local houses and buildings. The pilot program was created to paint murals on the doors and windows of abandoned building within the community.
Through this program, the city is being proactive to eliminate the eyesore of boarded-up homes by turning plywood into an arts palette,” said Councilman Bob Coffin, who spearheaded the effort. “These initiatives will help beautiful homes and properties, ultimately improving the neighborhoods.
Ten abandoned homes have been chosen for the Las Vegas pilot project. Artist Markus Tracy was commissioned to design five different scenes that will be painted onto the plywood used to board up the homes for security.
The Las Vegas Arts Commission supplied $16,550 for the effort.
The Las Vegas program was at least partially inspired by local artists group Future Blooms, which is part of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. From the website:
In the fall of 2009, the Future Blooms program was developed to address crime in urban areas where there was a heavy concentration of vacancy. Research indicated that abandoned buildings and vacant lots provided the most potential for positive change. The Broken Window Theory also provided a platform to address this issue of vacancy. By painting doors, windows, awnings, and flower boxes on the barricades of abandoned buildings, Future Blooms was able to restore a sense of identity to the neighborhood and encourage economic development.
Four years later, we have improved over 600 abandoned buildings by enhancing the plywood barricades with painted representations of doors, windows, awnings, and flower boxes. Our team of artists and architects has mastered the process so that it only costs $4.50 a square foot! This process not only changes the perception of safety and cleanliness in the area, but it also makes the properties more inviting to investors. 22% of our buildings are now completely renovated or under development.
The initiative in Cincinnati includes vacant buildings, vacant lots, murals and eco-art installations. See more information about Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and Future Blooms, please check out their website at http://keepcincinnatibeautiful.org/ .