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Parkersburg, WV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: Downtown PKP wanted to build on its efforts to bring public art to Parkersburg. Over the years, the nonprofit created selfie stations and displayed welcome banners in the central business district. This project added a 40-foot mural. Downtown PKB held community listening sessions, where they asked residents what they love most about their town, as well as about their hopes for the future. Using the responses, a team of artists developed a design depicting a collage of smiling faces, local landmarks and butterflies. During four public paint parties, 300 volunteers worked to install the mural on the side of the Parkersburg Art Center. Project organizers say the collaborative effort culminated in public art that beautified Parkersburg's downtown.

Henderson, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: As part of efforts to revitalize the Army Street corridor, the City of Henderson commissioned murals to decorate concrete benches along a pedestrian thoroughfare. The City hoped the 12 colorful benches would draw visitors to downtown businesses, including the Purple Penguin Snowcone Shack and City Lights Art Gallery. Today, the murals offer pedestrians -- and other visitors to the Downtown Senior Center -- a popular spot to snap a photo or sit down and rest. Project organizers say the art installations also sparked the City to develop its Arts and Culture Master Plan. And in the years since, funding for public art in Henderson has increased, resulting in 10 new mural installations.

Hendersonville, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: Herdersonville has two discrete downtown districts and recently created a safe pedestrian pathway to connect them. Friends of Downtown Hendersonville's initiative beautified the path and dubbed it the Downtown Art Route. First, the organization held an art contest. Then volunteers painted three winning designs onto the path's pavement. The Hendo Bee Line mural depicts pollinator flowers, while another mural features five hands spelling the word Hendo in American Sign Language. A third stretch of sidewalk showcases artwork depicting bears in a mountain landscape. Since the project completed, organizers are looking for locations to install more public art in the future.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Lexington, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: To give residents a comfortable space to hold a conversation, the Lexington Senior Center installed new accessible benches and raised planters in Idle Hour Park. Guided by a physical therapy student's research, which showed many people are uncomfortable twisting to converse with someone seated beside them, the benches sit in a U shape. This placement allows people to choose whether to sit next to or across from one another. Each seating area also includes extra space for a wheelchair user to join in.

Lexington, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Developing projects based on residents' priorities

Description: To strengthen relations between grandparents and grandchildren, this project staged events at which attendees could plant trees and flower bulbs or buildfree mini libraries(or both) in locations across Kentucky.

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