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Paint Adds Pride to Florida City


By Jill M. Speegle

Replacing blight with beauty is a common goal of public art projects these days.

Connecting community members, instilling a sense of neighborhood pride, and promoting art are others.

In the recent 13th Street Outdoor Gallery Project in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, all of those goals were addressed in two vibrant mural installations, according to mural artist and Montreal native Jacklyn Laflamme.

Photos: Jacklyn Laflamme

Nearly 30 local residents and artists in the Ft. Lauderdale neighborhood took part in the day of painting in early March.

Laflamme played a large role in the project’s planning, design and management.

Neighbors Paint Together

“We really want the local community to be a part of the experience,” Laflamme said. “If the people of the neighborhood participate in the creation of the art, it will allow them to have a sense of ownership over it.”

13th Street has become plagued with crime over the past 10 years, according to a report in the Miami Herald. The mural project is just one of many efforts being mounted to clean up the depressed area, the report said.

The community project was made possible by an Art of Community Engagement Grant.

The two new murals feature a bright skyline and a colorful garden on two buildings along the corridor.

Nearly 30 local residents and artists took part in the day of painting in early March.

First Step: Gauge Interest

Laflamme teamed up with Homes Inc., the 13th Street Alliance, and other civic associations to secure a $15,000 Art of Community Engagement Grant from the Community Foundation of Broward, a non-profit organization on a mission to provide leadership and foster philanthropy in the area.

But before embarking on the permanent art project in an area known for burglaries and drug deals, Laflamme said, a community event was hosted to gauge interest.

“13th Street hosted a ‘Guerilla Art Day’ where the public came out and helped to create temporary art installations,” Laflamme said. A slideshow video of the event held last September is posted on YouTube.

The community's "Guerilla Art Day" is captured in this slideshow.

“We even painted a car,” she said. The artist noted that the event generated excitement and interest in creating larger pieces of permanent public art in the community.

Grant-Funded Painting Event

Children and adults from the community participated in the design process for the 13th Street Outdoor Gallery Project, Laflamme said.

They also picked up paint brushes and joined Laflamme when it came time to paint the large, colorful, outdoor murals.

A paint-by-number technique was used to make it less intimidating for non-artists to help in the project, she said.

“Most of [the residents] have never painted before, so we thought if we gave them specific instructions, it would be easier for them,” Laflamme said, adding that some people became more creative throughout the process.

Growing as an Artist

Laflamme, who often creates and paints solo, says that collaborative projects like these give her a chance to learn different skills and to grow as an artist.

Artist Jacklyn Laflamme has embraced the public art sphere with her vibrant murals.

“Meeting with the diverse groups of people in the community and getting them excited about the project was educational; learning how to work with municipalities to help them grow and develop was very interesting,” she said, noting that the entire process was “an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Laflamme’s work can be found in several U.S. and international locations, including Florida, North Carolina, California, New York, Canada, Spain and Switzerland.

More information: Jacklyn Laflamme.


Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.



Tagged categories: Architecture; Color; Design; Green building; Interior design; Restoration; Artists; Causes; Color + Design; Community service; Murals

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