As announced by Southeast Uplift (SEUL), through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Graffiti Abatement program, various community projects will receive a combined total of $7400 to repair or prevent the harm of graffiti on neighborhood buildings. On Monday, 3/5, Southeast Uplift’s Board of Directors, as suggested by SEUL’s grant selection committee, formally approved allocation of those funds to certain community projects.
Out of nine project applicants, five were selected and will receive money to host neighborhood graffiti cleanup efforts or paint murals that would either cover affected walls or deter future graffiti. Of the five projects selected, two will directly improve the visual appearance of our neighborhood: one on Foster Road; the other on Holgate, just west of Foster.
On Foster Road, the former Phoenix Pharmacy building (SE 67th and Foster), which has been the source of much speculation due to its historic value and potential as a neighborhood anchor, will receive funding to design and install a mural on the exterior of the building. Put together by the “Foster the Phoenix” group, presumably in connection with the building’s owner, the proposal is to depict “Old Time Foster,” and will be created by the community. As stated by SEUL, the project will include a kickoff work party for the community, as well as an eventual unveiling ceremony targeted to coincide with Fun on Foster in September.
And just up the street, replacing some of the scorn many residents felt when they set up shop, Seven Eleven will be opening its south-facing wall to the students of Mt. Scott Park Center for Learning, as they will complete a community-driven mural on Holgate side of the building, just off of Foster. This project, which will be across the street from the alternative school for at-risk youth, is expected to draw in neighboring residents, businesses, and community groups to participate in design and installation.
Together, these projects should enliven the area with an already emerging arts scene. With the recent completion of a mural on the Paldo Market building, the extensive art work on the Tango Berratin dance studio, and O’Malley’s expanding array of murals, Foster Road, and now one of its offshoots, will see two more artistic additions at the street level. This bodes well, too, for the eventual restoration of the Phoenix Pharmacy building, which could some day provide a huge injection of vitality to the neighborhood.
These projects are a reminder, as well, that funding is available to improve neighborhood livability. As frustrating as it is to wait for the city to address some of our needs, there are efforts that we, ourselves, can make to better the community. If you’re curious about ways to access or learn more about grant opportunities, drop us a line.