Franklin Square grows ‘Sunflower Village'

BALTIMORE - The PNC Transformative Art Project improves blighted communities.

Baltimore's Franklin Square neighborhood decided to get rid of the boarded up houses and trash on their streets.

"We decided to take it over and make it something beautiful," said Franklin Square Community Association's Scott Kashnow.

"There were five houses that we have here. A few years ago they got torn down," said Scott. "And they left us with this empty lot."

The community is turning blight into light using sunflowers to grow community spirit. The neighbors used the PNC Transformative Art Project to turn the Carey Street vacant lot into a community garden and added eco-friendly artwork from the CAN Collective (Emily C-D, Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn).

"We put in a large woodchip pathway. It's about 50-feet in front and it goes right through the middle," said Scott. "We put in a threshold made out of reused granite from city sidewalks. We put in some other reused granite for steps and we made a bench out of it also," he added.

Sunflowers have become the overwhelming theme around Franklin Square.

"We now have sunflower themed murals. And we're going to continue beyond that with the sunflower themed flags. Those were made by the kids at St. Luke's Church," said Scott. "Where we have the vacant houses, we'll put some sunflower themed small murals on the boards. Make them not look so bad."

Along with Franklin Square, the Greater Mondawmin and Hamilton-Lauraville neighborhoods are also getting make-overs.

The PNC Transformative Art Project is taking applications for the 2013 grants.  Deadline to apply: February 15, 2013

Interested communities and artists must attend a workshop Thursday January 10, 2013 – 6 – 8pm at D center Baltimore, 16 W. North Avenue. RSVP to rvega@promotionandarts.org

For more information on the PNC Transformative Art Project, call  410-752-8632 .

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