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