CAR (Community Alley Renovation)
Three years ago, CHWC’s Art Squad came up with the idea to start a program that would abate gang tagging and scripting on garages in the alleyways, on walls, and along routes to schools in their community. Along with cleaning up the graffiti, they wanted to make the alleyways less frightening and safer for everyone in the neighborhood. This program would be called Community Alley Renovation (CAR).
How the program works is simple: the Art Squad talks to the owners of the garages and asks them if they want their garage painted with a mural to cover up or prevent graffiti. After receiving permission, they collaborate with the owner to come up with an idea for the mural. Finally, a beautiful mural is painted.
Along with painting the murals, the Squad weeds and picks up the trash of each alleyway in which they work. CHWC provides a solar power motion detection light on every garage that the Art Squad paints. LISC again provided the startup money to get things rolling and last year they received a grant from the National Graffiti Hurts Program.
The CAR program has painted over 16 murals in three connecting alleyways by the Cathedral-St. Peter’s neighborhood’s community garden. These murals are bringing more people together. And people do use the alleys now: kids cut through, outsiders go on mural tours. CHWC’s Art Squad will continue to work to make the neighborhood a safer (and prettier) place for everyone in their community.
Art on the Street
Along with CAR, three years ago the Art Squad started the program Art on the Street. They teach art lessons during the summer for those interested in the neighborhood. The first year the group set up on different street corners in St. Peter’s-Waterway neighborhoods. The next year it did classes in the community garden and this past summer it held lessons in Waterway Park. The group has always averaged 18-20 participants from ages 5 to 70. It is one of the group’s favorite activities during the summer. The program was originally funded through LISC of Greater Kansas City but has operated on donations to the CHWC Youth Art Fund.