In 2021, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) was awarded a $50,000 Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery Grant to help adapt streets in service of communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).
Graham Projects was an integral part of the BCDOT Lake 2 Lake Project application alongside fellow community partners Bikemore and Black People Ride Bikes. The grant funded community engagement activities for traffic calming, mobile bike shop pop-ups, group bike rides, and the pavement art installation at 33rd Street and Hillen Road.
This project leveraged existing BCDOT plans for traffic calming at the main intersection gateway to Lake Montebello at 33rd Street and Hillen Road as well as maintenance and repairs to The Big Jump shared-use path leading to Druid Hill Park. Graham Projects provided project branding design, facilitated community engagement, and solicited community-based design inspiration through COVID-19-safe pop-up drawing events and via COLORoW, our custom online public art drawing tool. Based on the public conversations and drawings submitted by residents, Graham Projects developed design proposals that over 500 residents voted on in selecting the final work of traffic calming public art.
Community partner organizations, Bikemore and Black People Ride hosted a community event in November 2021 celebrating the project and unveiling the traffic calming plan by BCDOT and the community inspired pavement art design by Graham Projects named Rayobello. Local residents inspired the design by sharing their cherished experiences witnessing colorful sunrises and sunsets as seen from the lake.
While we may be under an extended stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Graham Projects is keeping busy with public art in the service of people and places. Springtime is usually when we are deep in community engagement and designing projects for installation in the summer and fall. Like many organizations, we’ve had to carefully retool our work while practicing social distancing.
In lieu of public meetings we’ve been working the phones, online hangouts, video chats, and zooms. COVID won’t stop our creative action, so today we are proud to announce our new online placemaking toolkit, Make Place Happen. Use the resources at Make Place Happen for “Do-it-Yourself Urbanism” and/or participating with our current placemaking projects!
Our new DIY Urbanism website was co-designed and built by the amazing artist-designers Tobey Albright and Mollie Edgar of Hour Studio. They took our ideas and colors, skillfully designed the website and brand, and helped us realize the most exciting part of Make Place Happen: the COLORoW online public art design tool. COLORoW is short for “COLOring the Right of Way”. It is a coloring book-like web app for drawing your own artistic crosswalk or pavement mural.
Residents are invited to use COLORoW to share their ideas with us for specific projects in their neighborhood. Participants can draw what they would like to see in their public space, download the drawing, and then share it with us along with text and other visual inspiration via an embedded upload form.
Using everyone’s drawings as inspiration we will develop our always exciting array of design options. Like with our face-to-face workshops, but online, Graham Projects will then shareback the community-based artwork for resident feedback and selection.
Check out the new Make Place Happen website, and stay tuned for added features to come; including a store for creative street stencils, a guide for making pavement art, and a local “how to” for kid-friendly play streets.