We've done quite a bit to assist the transformation process in the community using art and creativity as the foundation of our efforts, as well as connecting The House Poem Project to other area initiatives in order to support and amplify the collective impact in the community.
The Art Place America Grant has allowed our work to evolve beyond The House Poem Project, which remains at the root of our work to simply RECLAIM PROJECT.
Art Place America's
National Creative Place Making Fund
December 6, 2017 We did it! After an intensive grant and interview process, we were awarded an Art Place America National Creative Placemaking Award. This award was the crux of how we were able to take the seeds of The House Poem Project into an entirely different level and transform into RECLAIM PROJECT!
The House Poem Project
May 14, 2015 The House Poem Project is the foundation that created the space for The RECLAIM Project to grow. At the core of The House Poem Project was a desire to use literacy as a way to address issues around vacancy and create corridors where artistic expression was used to tackle blight and safety issues. Seed funding from winning a 5x5 Competition allowed us to launch House Poem. Initially we worked with an area principle at one of our target schools (Riverside Elementary School #44) to develop a curriculum for Pre-K to 6th, which used art and poetry to explore how the students viewed their neighborhood and where they wanted to see it go. We used Maya Angelou's, "Still I Rise," and Nikki Giovanni's, "Ego Trippin" to also support the students growth and identity. Artists then took inspiration from the words and drawings of the youth and transformed these into murals that appeared on the first art sheds in the community. Since that day nearly 5 years ago, we've moved into new areas of the community and expanded on the ideas rooted in The House Poem Project into an entirely new level and in doing so became The RECLAIM Project.
Riverside Elementary School #44
April-June 2016 Working with the staff and teachers of Riverside Elementary School #44, we were able to design a curriculum that brought together literacy / poetry, arts and community ownership with students. The curriculum works with students pre-K through 6th grade. Students wrote poems, drew pictures and painted their own house murals, all while exploring what home means to them. Click here to see the students' work.
Udell Street Fire Station
August 22, 2015 We worked with the historic Udell Street Fire Station property owner, Marian University Campus Ministry and students to clean-up and paint a simple mural on the Fire Station. This Fire Station sits in the epicenter of the House Poem Project's focus area.
Burdsal Parkway Mural
October 15, 2015 Working with the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), Summit Construction and the Northwest Area Quality of LIfe Plan's Arts, Parks and Public Spaces community task force, we were able to turn a plain wall of an abadoned concrete factory into a community mural. This is the first community service project the IMA has executed in the Northwest Area, a community which is directly adjacent to the museum's grounds.
Northwest Area Safe Routes to School
June 30, 2015 We completed the Northwest Area Safe Routes to School Plan. We were instrumental in the creation of this plan, which revealed a variety of safety issues students experienced walking to and from school, such as high vacant housing rates (entire blocks of the area are without human presence); being harrassed by strangers, which has led to some students dropping out of after school programs due to fear of walking home; and a general sense of fear in the community. We dediced to focus our efforts on this area and use creativity to reclaim our streets.
Northwest Area Quality of Life Plan
September 20, 2014 We've both been instrumental in the development and completion of the Northwest Area Quality of Life Plan. LaShawnda served as the Community Organizer and Builder during this time and spearheaded the community's efforts to write a 165 page community and economic development plan. Arts, Parks and Public Spaces, as well as Youth Development were key components of this work.