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Henderson, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: The Flint Hill Kittrell Vance Community Development Corporation hoped to help foster economic development in Henderson's Flint Hill neighborhood, a low-income community. To create a sense of place there, the CDC created the Henderson Art Walk. First, volunteers worked to install murals and crosswalk art reflecting the area's history and culture. Local youth also took part in an oral history project, recording stories from their elders. A local website hosts an archive of the stories, along with photos of local public art installations. Then the CDC launched its walking tour, which highlights local Black history and culture. The walk leads visitors past local galleries and museums, as well as murals and crosswalk art. One mural honors Ben E. King, a Henderson native best known for writing and performing the song Stand by Me. The success of this placemaking project has inspired similar efforts in nearby communities and has spurred the CDC to create more public art.

Houston, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: To increase walkability and create a safe, beautiful gathering space, Avenue CDC engaged a local artist, local schoolchildren and residents to create a 600-foot mural. The wall selected for the artwork was off-putting and had been vandalized many times. But the site also acted as the entry point to the Northline neighborhood, since the wall faces the nearby light rail station. The mural's design pays homage to local Latino culture and the history of the neighborhood. As the mural reached its completion, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and project organizers were able to repurpose leftover grant funds to help with recovery and rebuilding.

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.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Kaneohe, HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Rotary Club engaged contractors and volunteers to clean up a 35,000-square-foot gravel lot on Aloha Drive that had become an eyesore. Volunteers worked with landscape architects to plant hundreds of shrubs and thousands of smaller plants throughout the lot, creating a pocket park. Leveraging a range of funding resources, organizers transformed the space into a community oasis they have dubbed Centennial Park.

Hauula, HI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: This project installed walking trails, ADA-compliant benches and a mural on a five-acre site slated to become a community recreation area.

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