These are two wonderful articles that analyze how public art, especially when done by community members themselves,  can impact economic, environmental, social and health issues that urban centers face today. Enjoy!

(courtesy of Philly Painting)
Philly Painging – Photo via Sustainable Cities Collective

How Public Art Improves the Economic and Social Environment
Article on Philly Painting, a neighborhood beautification project that is transforming the commercial corridor by bringing colour to the neighbourhood.

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Building community by painting the town with street art
Encouraging sustainability through building strong communities with place-making projects like on-street murals.

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What a wonderful time we had painting the West End mural on Sunday! It was a blast seeing so many people get together to beautify the Cardero Street. We had an amazing turnout, over 40 volunteers had signed up for the painting and our comments book is filled with lovely words of support for this project. There was also a lot of interest expressed in creating more murals in our neighbourhood.

I have received great photos from several people. Below is an image gallery with a selection of photos that show volunteers in the process of creating the mural. If you have more photos that you would like to share, please email them to me at westendmural@gmail.com and I’ll select a few more to add to the website.

I would like to thank everyone who participated and made this project possible. Strong and resilient neighbourhoods require participation and involvement of its residents so my heart was filled with joy when I saw beautiful smiling people of all ages work, play and have fun together making the West End what it really is, a vibrant, diverse and exciting neighbourhood. It is also extremely inspiring to live in the city where local government supports community projects like this. I hope more community building projects will continue to sprout throughout Vancouver.

Many thanks to Cloverdale Paint for donating paints and supplies for this mural.

Our mural painting party is coming up really, really soon! Please join this FUN event and help us enrich the West End community with creative energy.

In early August, the community met to select one out of four designs presented and the following design won majority of the votes.

We are excited to paint this image on the Cardero Street, between Nelson Street and Comox Street on Sunday, September 23rd. The painting party details are:

When: September 23, 2012 (Sunday)
Where: Cardero Street (between Nelson St. and Comox St.)
Time: 9am – 7pm
What: Mural painting party with music in the background and some refreshments

Join us for this great West End block party! Help us paint the West End mural, enjoy the sunshine and have FUN with your neighbours! Please bring your smiling faces and be prepared to let your creativity loose. Paints and brushes will be provided but it will be messy so do come prepared wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

This is a kid friendly event. All ages welcome!

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the first set of West End Mural meetings and whose presence made those meetings joyful and fun. It was fantastic getting to know everyone personally. Working together towards selecting mural concepts through discussion, play and art was the best way I could think of to connect to the amazing people that live in the West End and celebrate our community.

Our last June meeting was quite playful and productive. We selected 3 concepts out of 26 that we felt were most representative of the West End community and we narrowed it down to:

  1. Nature/City
  2. Vibrant energy
  3. Multicultural diversity

We then created four big pieces of collaborative art that explore visual elements and describe those concepts.

I will now be working on artistic interpretation of these concepts through July. At the beginning of August, we will meet again to discuss the mural designs and choose the one we all think best represents the spirit of West End. Until then, have a wonderful, sunny July and see you all soon.

Our final meeting in June is coming up.  This time we will be meeting at the West End Community Center on Thursday instead of our regular Wednesday meetings. We will be prioritizing the concepts that we have been exploring so far and narrowing them down to the 3 most significant ones for the West End community. There will be a lot of discussion, painting and playing.

Here are the details:
When: Thursday, June 21st
Time: 6:15pm – 8:45pm
Where: West End Community Center – Room: “English Bay” (go up the stairs and it will be on your left)
Address: 870 Denman Street (http://vancouver.ca/parks/cc/westend/index.htm)

Please RSVP here if you plan on coming.

And, remember this is a kid friendly event. We have lots of paints and other materials for drawing, colouring, cutting, gluing and just simply playing.

We hope you’ll join us for a night of creativity and community building!

Our last meeting was very intimate and colourful. Julien, from Vancouver’s Late Nite Art, was guiding the community through a series of artistic responses to questions designed to explore the strengths and weaknesses of our community. The intention was to identify the role this mural could play in expressing the West End spirit and illustrating community’s needs and connections. FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Our second meeting was all about getting to know each other a little bit better while slowly working towards creating a common vision for the mural.

We started with the Marshmallow Challenge to break the ice and explore ways of working together that is fun and creative. After inquiring into and discussing our personal associations with the West End neighbourhood, we looked into common threads and tried to connect our visions to bridge the gaps.

Overall, it was a night of bonding and playing!

West End’s first ever on-street mural project, supported by VIVA Vancouver, is currently in the planning stage. It is a collaborative art project where the West End residents get to express their visions for a design that will be painted on the intersection of Cardero between Nelson and Comox Streets.

Join us if you would like to connect with your neighbours, build strong community, celebrate diversity, create colourful street art and HAVE FUN!