Pilot Project: Black Street and Northwood Terrace Intersection Painting (2011 - 2012)
On July 14, 2012, neighbours came together to transform the intersection at Black Street and Northwood Terrace by painting a large community-created design on the street as part of an HRM pilot project, co-sponsored by the 4Cs Foundation. A group of community members, operating under the name of Placemaking Halifax, spearheaded this project in collaboration with HRM. It was the first municipally-supported, community-driven street painting project in Canada.
This program was inspired by Portland, Oregon’s City Repair model. In spring 2010, the model was introduced to HRM by Michael Cook from City Repair during the ArtsEngage! Symposium, organized by the 4Cs Foundation and other local partners. The City Repair model allows neighbourhoods the opportunity to organize and propose community art projects on city property. The community development model that City Repair uses aligns closely with HRM’s Community Art Program.
The project was open to all residents of the neighbourhood, who gathered several times over the spring months. First, the group shared both what they appreciate about the community and their visions for the future. Many drawings were created along these themes, and artists presented concepts based on these visioning and drawing sessions. Together, the community collectively decided which of the final designs would be the new face of the neighbourhood.
Painting day became a celebration with music, food, children’s activities, drumming circle, resident-led art installations, community discussions, and of course, the intersection painting. Hundreds of people came by through the day to watch and participate.
The success of this pilot project turned Placemaking into a permanent municipal program, and invites neighbourhoods to initiate projects that activate shared public spaces to give a sense of place and build community.