The so-called "Small and Inspiring" award cashes in at $1,500. SEABA will use it to commission a local artist to create a mural for a crosswalk, location TBD. "We are identifying three [possible] locations," writes SEABA director Adam Brooks in an email. Namely, the crosswalks at the intersections of Pine Street and Flynn Avenue and Pine and Howard streets, and another near Champlain Elementary School.
Brooks spilled the beans about the grant on Instagram (@southendarthop) with a photo of a barren crosswalk juxtaposed with a vibrantly painted stretch of concrete in Lake Pleasant, Ariz., by designer/illustrator Lahri Bond. The grant, SEABA posted, would be used to "animate infrastructure" — that is, make a boring sidewalk pretty.
In the Instagram comments, a representative of local nonprofit Local Motion notes, "This is awesome! Anything that slows drivers down and makes more vulnerable road users safer is [thumbs-up emoji] in our book. And if it beautifies and funk-ifies BTV at the same time, that's a lot of a good thing."
The reasoning behind the project, Brooks explains, is part safety, part furthering funkiness. "Working in the South End for the past five years," he writes, "I see both the potential to add a creative touch to a somewhat drab patch of infrastructure, and also the difficulty of identifying crosswalk locations for both pedestrians and vehicles."
The request for proposals was issued in the first week of April, with an April 30 deadline for artists to submit their designs. A committee of South End residents, employees and "peers," as Brooks puts it, will review the submissions. The Department of Public Works has asked to approve them, he adds.
"Selections will be made mid-May," Brooks writes, "and we hope work will be completed [by the] end of June, weather permitting."
Eyes on the road, folks! Come summer, there's going to be a lot more to look at in the South End.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Art Crossing"