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St. Thomas, VI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts commissioned local artists -- all of whom were older adults -- to create four murals at a local recreational complex. Intended to extend the Yacht Haven Public Arts Initiative into more neighborhoods, the new murals focus on Virgin Islanders' heritage and history. Subject matter includes an ocean vista with sail boats, a scene from everyday Island life and an homage to local athletes. Project organizers say they hope the new public art instills a sense of neighborhood identity and adds color to walls that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Farmington, NM

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: The Art in the Alley project will cover the exterior walls of several downtown businesses with murals and historic images, creating a pedestrian walkway.

Houston, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: Organizers with the North Houston Management District noticed many of Houston's murals found in the city's more affluent neighborhoods. To bring quality public art to the Aldine neighborhood and draw visitors to the local library, the District painted an augmented reality mural. The artwork depicts the word knowledge on a colorful backdrop. Passersby can use a smartphone app to scan the mural, allowing them to experience additional multimedia content. The mural is the first augmented reality project of its kind in Houston. Project organizers say the creative placemaking effort is meant to build neighborhood pride and a positive local identity to lower-income, predominantly Black and Latino North Houston.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Metuchen, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: Businesses in Metuchen's downtown struggled during pandemic-related shutdowns in 2020. To help with their recovery and resilience, the Metuchen Downtown Alliance made investments in public outdoor spaces, turning a block of New Street into a pedestrian oriented New Streetery. After the Borough Council voted to ease zoning requirements, the Alliance converted street parking spaces into parklets. This created outdoor space for businesses -- including restaurants, shops and fitness studios -- to operate safely. To accommodate diners, the Downtown Alliance purchased over 100 tables with chairs, as well as infrared heaters and lighting. In the summer months, New Street closed to vehicle traffic on weekends, with partial street closures continuing into the winter. Project organizers say that although COVID-19 has since waned, walkability and outdoor dining remain part of Metuchen's downtown culture.

Metuchen, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To create a gathering spot near the city's center for older adults, this project transformed two downtown parking spaces into a parklet with planters, seating and a table decorated with a mosaic.

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