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Brownsville, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: The City of Brownsville set out to transform its 14th Street Plaza into a vibrant place for residents and visitors to the city. The City commissioned local artists to create a mural in the seven archways along one of the site's walls. To select the muralists, the City held a competition. The winning design, The Three Graces, by local artists Alexandria Canchola, Monica Lugo and Samantha Rawls, explores the relationships between sisters, cities and countries. Additionally, the City set up portable tables and seats, hung tree light fixtures, constructed a shade canopy and added new fountains to the site. They were also able to replace broken bollards, replace electrical fixtures and install bike racks and trash cans. Project organizers say the plaza was not well-maintained before and they hope upkeep will be easier now. Going forward, city officials see the park as a tool for economic development, attracting visitors to visit nearby businesses and museums.

Charlotte, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: Charlotte's Little Sugar Creek Greenway is a popular place for pedestrians, but the path through the Parkwood underpass tunnel was dark and uninviting. Working with local partners, Brand the Moth gave the tunnel new life. The organization commissioned two local artists to design a mural, which volunteers helped install during a community paint day. The new artwork represents Charlotte's people, communities and nature. Residents and visitors can now take a walking tour through the mural. Project organizers say they hope the public art project attracts more people to use the greenway.

Englewood, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: After a local ordinance update to allow murals in Englewood, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation set out to create public art celebrating Black women's history. The Foundation commissioned an artist to create the Black Women's Mural Project's first installation, which celebrates the work of Black suffragists who fought to expand voting rights to women. Two community engagements coincided with the mural's installation, where community members could watch the artist work. Participants learned more about the artists' vision and the history informing the subject matter. Organizers invited residents to share their feedback and personal stories. Additionally, the Foundation provided information on registering to vote, as well as polling locations and hours. To celebrate the new artwork, they also produced a documentary about the mural.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Baltimore, MD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Lifelong housing and accessibility

Description: This project renovated an abandoned home. Organizers then gave the house away, mortgage free, to an older adult who has never owned a home before

Baltimore, MD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: As part of a smart cities initiative, the Office of Information and Technology developed an online tool to allow residents and businesses to access city services, such as applying for government services and paying taxes. Project organizers hope the tool will help city residents have an efficient experience when they engage with local government functions.

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