LaShawnda Crowe Storm & Phyllis Viola Boyd

Funding Received: 2016
Indianapolis, IN
Funding Period: 3 years and 5 months

With RECLAIM, project co-leads LaShawnda Crowe Storm and Phyllis Viola Boyd will join forces with artists and designers to tackle unsafe conditions in northwest Indianapolis. As a result of the installation of a highway in the 1970's and subsequent public and private disinvestment over the past 40+ years, the community has continued to fragment resulting in a lack of connection among residents. Because 90% of the city budget goes to support the public safety efforts of police, fire, animal control and code enforcement, there is little funding available for public works such as infrastructure improvements or maintenance of vacant city-owned properties, hundreds of which are in this community.

However, it is the work the team championed around children that was the impetus behind RECLAIM. Prior to applying for the award, the duo worked on developing a Safe Routes to School effort for the Northwest Area community, which opened their eyes to many disturbing and unseen facts. While there were more than 70 vacant spaces in a 3-block radius of a school, it was learning about kids being harassed walking to and from school that really got underneath their skin.

As a demonstration project, RECLAIM will transform vacant spaces along an unsafe, walking corridor traveled by elementary school children into a safe pathway where blight is transformed into beauty and economic opportunity. Working with current and returning residents (who were formerly incarcerated) to activate a series of vacant lots and houses with art, this community hopes to increase safety while supporting the reintegration of ex-offenders and to create innovative pathways to new economic opportunities. To accomplish this, RECLAIM will also include a series of hands-on design, business, and community development workshops, in conjunction with mentorship, in order to build community capacity towards increased economic opportunity for individuals and, as a result, increased growth and stability for the community.


See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project

Dec 6, 2017
Some vacant lots on the northwest side of the city are already getting some makeovers and the work there has only just begun. LaShawnda Crowe... Read More
Jan 3, 2017
A three-year, $200,000 grant from Artplace's National Creative Placemaking Fund will support a neighborhood improvement project on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The RECLAIM project,... Read More
Phyllis Viola Boyd is an artist and urban strategist. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Groundwork Indy, a non-profit organization the employs youth... Read More
LaShawnda Crowe Storm is a mixed media artist, activist, community builder and occasionally an urban farmer. Whether she is making artwork or sowing seeds, Crowe... Read More
While the work of creative placemaking involves plenty of “grown-up” tasks like applying for permits and analyzing data, young people can play pivotal roles in...Read more
Imagine being 7 years old and forced to walk alone or only with other children through a community with broken or missing sidewalks, past lots...Read more
With our focus this month on public safety, the ArtPlace team thought October would be the perfect time to re-introduce one of our most comprehensive...Read more