#MakeYourMark: guest post by Liana Charles

August 11, 2016 1:43 pm

The Placemaking Microgrant Program launched earlier this year to fund lighter, quicker, cheaper projects that enhance public life in the South End neighborhood through programming or temporary physical improvements.

Now that the first round of projects have been implemented, we’ve asked the grant recipients to guest write a blog post detailing their experience and lessons learned. Below are some thoughts from Liana Charles, who was selected for her proposal to turn a blank facade into a coloring-book wall. 

If you’re feeling inspired to create something cool for South End, do it! Submit an application for the Fall 2016 round of Placemaking Microgrants by August 31, 2016



My proposal for the Placemaking Microgrant Program was to make an interactive coloring wall that would bring the South End community together by filling in patterns with chalk.

Inspired by the popular trend of “adult coloring books” and other interactive community building projects in South End, the coloring wall can be washed away by the rain but it gives people the opportunity to start over and see the image change each time.



The planning process ended up being pretty stressful because we had a hard time finalizing our design for the wall. We really wanted to capture the personality of South End, so we started talking to a lot of people to get an idea of what South End meant to them.

We spent quite some time at Common Market for inspiration, because to us, it really did represent a lot of what South End was about, and we wanted to highlight the diverse and artistic community.



Before we started painting, we were thankful to get permission from The Charlotte Post to let us add some vibrancy to their wall! During the process we also relied heavily on the awesome staff at Phat Burrito and Common Market for their assistance with ladders, extension cords, and anything else we needed to get the wall done. We could not have done it without these businesses and their support!



While we were painting the design, we had a lot of great feedback even before people knew what was going on the wall. The best part of painting was talking to locals or visitors walking by who were excited to see more interactive art in South End.



Anyone from a child to an adult can find something on the wall to color- some people may like the challenge of the intricate pattern on the far right panel, others might just like pointing out significant parts of the map of South End in the middle, or (for those who don’t want to spend as much time filling in a pattern) people can fill in basic geometric shapes on the far left. There are also different shaped bottles lining the bottom two panels for people to customize and make their own.



We’ve encouraged people to post their designs on Instagram or social media with the hashtag #makeyourmark, so others can see what has been colored on the wall before them. People can go find the mural on the side of The Charlotte Post building right next to Phat Burrito.



The biggest takeaways and advice from this project will be to try to prepare and research as much as you can before you get started. There’s always something you can learn by asking people for feedback on your idea.

Lastly, it’s okay if something does not go as planned, just work with what you have and be proud of it!



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