Dear Artists: Detroit’s Abandoned Homes Are More Than Your Blank Canvas

White House

“The White House,” by Ryan Mendoza, was on view at the Art Rotterdam festival in the Netherlands in February. Mendoza removed the facade of an abandoned house in Detroit for his installation, prompting criticism about how it affected the neighborhood it came from.

The Monday demolition of a blighted Detroit home made famous in an art installation thousands of miles away raises questions about the relationship between artists and the communities that inspire their work.

Ryan Mendoza, an American-born artist living in Europe, used the house on Stoepel Street as the raw material for “The White House” at the Art Rotterdam festival last month. He first visited Detroit last year, removed the facade of the house, which was purchased and donated by a local friend, and shipped it overseas. In the Netherlands city, he reconstructed the shell and painted it white. He played Motown hits and projected family snapshots and video taken during his trip to evoke the house’s history. Read More here!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ryan-mendoza-detroit-white-house_us_56fbb88be4b083f5c6060d31

Paducah, Kentucky Attracts Artists to Rehab Homes

Artists from all over America started coming in 2000 to buy and restore homes in Lowertown, Paducah, Kentucky’s oldest — and most blighted – neighborhood. The neighborhood is now home to more than 70 artists, thanks to the city’s artist relocation program which was made possible with the help of a locally owned bank that willing to take a chance on this untested idea. Click here for the full story.

“Artists are the kind of folks who see what can be,” Barnett said. “They see potential, and we knew that was what it was going to take when they came in to see the neighborhood in its current condition.”

Missed it? Access the Webinar Recording: A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

Check out the webinar video here. It’s free. 

This highly visual 45-minute webinar presents research findings and proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide agencies or local governments towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. Participants will walk away with an understanding about how to leverage digital engagement to achieve unprecedented results using cost-effective tools.

This session features special guests from the City of Abbotsford, BC talking about Abbotsforward, one of the most innovative and successful Official Community Planning projects we’ve ever seen. They are online to talk about the innovative ways they combined online and targeted face to face community engagement to involve over 8,000 community members in the creation of a plan for Abbotsford, BC. They also share advice for agencies seeking to improve the breadth and effectiveness of their community engagement efforts and talk about the positive difference that broad community support is making in their implementation process.

Learning Outcomes

  • What to look for when selecting online engagement tools for planning projects,
  • How to design a fast and effective online experience,
  • How to collect meaningful public feedback that is directly usable in planning documents,
  • How to promote online participation,
  • How to leverage mobile, touchscreen kiosks and other technologies effectively, and
  • How to leverage social networking tools strategically.

Who Should View This

  • Planning project leaders & staff,
  • Public Information Officers, and
  • Outreach and engagement personnel.

Who wants to be mayor of Richwood? Everybody.

In total, 10 men are vying to be mayor of Richwood, a 2,000-person city in Nicholas County, which, like so many other West Virginia communities, is struggling with a declining population, major industries that peaked decades ago, and a deserted downtown.

This article highlights the type of challenges many small towns in West Virginia face when dealing with blight and abandoned buildings. Click here for the full story.

Webinar: A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

Check out this upcoming webinar! This highly visual 45-minute webinar will present research findings and proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide agencies towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. The webinar is free and will take place June 14 from 1:00 – 1:45 pm. Spots are limited so click here to register now!

Vacant Home Tours Showcase Property Potential

Wilkinsburg, PA, a community just outside Pittsburgh, is attempting to address blight by creating a tour of vacant homes to increase their appeal by explaining their history, suggesting potential reuses, and offering workshops about vacant property acquisition and property rehabilitation.

“We get a lot of complaints from residents…they want to know how they could go about acquiring the vacant home next door, or if it can be demolished, or what is available for people to deal with vacancy and blight in their neighborhood,” said Marlee Gallagher, co-coordinator of the tour.

Click here for the full story.

Peoria Art Students Use Blighted Buildings as Canvas

High school students in Peoria, IL are painting boards to cover windows and doors of homes slated for demolition later in the year. Like many communities in West Virginia, Peoria has its share of problem neighborhoods, and the boarded-up homes add to the impact of blight. This project serves to brighten up communities and also engages students with the city’s efforts.

“We hope that the artwork will add some community pride to the neighborhood.”

Click here for the full story.