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City of Charlotte Awards Grants to 11 Creative Placemaking Projectsby Tim Miner on May 3, 2020
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Charlotte’s Planning, Design and Development department posted an open call for communities and artists to submit for creative placemaking grants. They recently announced ten placemaking grants and one technical assistance grant in neighborhoods across the city.
According to associate planner, Charlotte Lamb, these funds were awarded to community members “to work on projects that transform underutilized public space into vibrant places for people.”
The City of Charlotte’s website says: “The Placemaking Grant is a community-building initiative that will support quick-win, transformative projects throughout the city to create and enhance community vibrancy, safety and identity …”
The City was looking for projects in the following categories:
- Activation of leftover and/or underutilized spaces
- Streetscape improvements
- Art and beautification efforts
- Creation of community gathering spaces
One of the defining qualities of the Placemaking projects is that they are designed to be smaller in scope and have a relatively short turnaround from inception to completion. This, says Lamb, helps neighborhoods see the City’s commitment to beautifying public space. She says she enjoys “showing them what can get done in a year … and getting it done.”
Though the project wasn’t created with stay-at-home orders in mind, it has brought a new importance to the work.
“It definitely helped us highlight the importance of public space and community gathering spaces,” said Lamb.
2020 Placemaking Grant Winners
- Country Club Heights Intersection Mural (Country Club Heights)
- Circle Together Mural and Pop Up Plaza (Garinger High School)
- River of Life Wall Mural (Beatties Ford-Lincoln Heights)
- Avenida De La Hispanidad Bus Stop Project (South Blvd-Starmount Area)
- Soundscape Queen City Plaza (Uptown)
- Garden for Wildlife Natural Area (Hidden Valley)
- The Green at Prosperity Village Programming (Prosperity Village)
- Vision Charlotte East Mural, Sculpture Garden, and Artist Open Space (Sharon Amity and WT Harris)
- Galilee Park (Central Avenue – Merry Oaks)
- Edible Landscape Community Garden (Optimist Park)
- Villa Heights Placemaking Technical Assistance Grant (Villa Heights)
Next Steps to Building These Projects
When stay-at-home orders are lifted and public congregation is allowed, the projects can begin to move ahead, says Lamb. The selection of the 11 ideas was just the beginning. Public input will be needed to build support and consensus and finalize designs.
One winning project that is ready to go as soon as possible is the Vision Charlotte East Mural, Sculpture Garden and Artist Open Space at the East Town Market on Sharon Amity Road — a partnership between Red Hill Ventures and artist Georgie Nakima. Nakima and the development group partnered on a mural in the same shopping center last year.
The next phase will begin with an outdoor meeting area for artists to meet, display work and interact with the community. Nakima says this phase of the project could be completed quickly and the team is ready to go.
“Of course, we’re very aware of how COVID-19 has changed our community. So, we’re responding to climate around right now,” says Nakima. “What we want to do is to create space where we can togetherness of community and learn together, apply workshops together, create together.”
Nakima has high hopes about the potential long-term impact this project could have on the East Charlotte community a new place to gather, especially in light of the lack of such places and opportunities now.
“I felt amazing [to win this grant.] I thought it was awesome because there is a lot of intention behind what we want to do in this corridor. It’s innovative. I’m excited to bring art in and help rebrand this community.”
Watch Our Interview with Charlotte Lamb