The Issue: Mindset of Neighborhood Dilapidation
On October 27, 2011, an article in Business Insider took aim at a neighborhood in Detroit, calling it “America's cheapest zip code.” Derek Weaver managed an art gallery within the 48208 zip code, and was appalled by this headline and the image the article presented. He wanted to overcome the idea that 48208 was defined by a murder risk that was eight times the national average and a robbery risk that was six times the national average. In response, he launched the Grand River Creative Corridor project to revitalize the neighborhood with a series of high-quality graffiti murals and art installations.
The Campaign: Cleaning Up a Neighborhood
If this Grassroots campaign raises $500, then Grand River Creative Corridor can purchase cleaning supplies for a neighborhood cleanup. Volunteers will purchase garbage bags, work gloves, weed killer, and wild-flower seeds to plant gardens in vacant lots, and rent a lawn mower and weed whacker. Once they clear the street of trash and debris, they can continue painting graffiti murals in a clean and beautiful neighborhood space to add culture, color, and something more to be proud of. Each additional $10 raised will fund more cleaning supplies.
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Grand River Creative Corridor
In 2000, Ric Geyer bought an abandoned building in the middle of Detroit, but had no plans to raise another hotel or trendy restaurant. His goal was innovation—or rather incubation. In the following years, he transformed the space into an arts incubator called the 4731 Gallery, a place where painters, photographer, and designers could come together to share ideas, hold parties and exhibitions, and work to further their craft.
When Derek Weaver, who managed the gallery, heard that his neighborhood was labeled one of the 15 poorest in the country, he decided to change public perception. Working with the graffiti artist Sintex and fine artist Sydney James, Derek launched the Grand River Creative Corridor project to create more than 100 murals and outdoor gallery exhibits. Today, more than 50 artists and 300 volunteers have contributed their time and talents to ornamenting a half-mile stretch of Grand River Avenue with colorful designs and playful characters. By the time the project is complete, the artists will have painted murals on 15 buildings, designed an outdoor gallery at a bus stop, and cleaned up overgrown weeds and trash. Each mural is painted with the consent of the local business owners, and installations reflect their line of business to increase exposure while revitalizing the neighborhood.