Crosswalks to Classrooms Brings Street Murals to Tallahassee
Crosswalks to Classrooms Brings Educational Street Murals to Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Fla. – On Saturday, September 24 students from Kate Sullivan Elementary and Elizabeth Cobb Middle School joined community members, professional artist Jay Giroux and community partners to bring Crosswalks to Classrooms to Tallahassee at two crosswalks near schools: at Hillcrest Street and Mitchell Avenue. Crosswalks to Classrooms is a project where high-use crosswalks near schools are painted an array of bright colors and eye-catching designs while engaging students, enhancing safety, and improving the livability of streets.
“The Crosswalks to Classrooms project has given these students a hands-on learning opportunity. As they’ve been at the center of the planning and designing process, students have been exposed to different career paths such as design, communications, and planning,” said Eric Clark, Executive Director for The Foundation of Leon County Schools. “The future is within our youth, and we are excited to have been able to provide this educational opportunity that not only beautifies the commute but makes it safer.”
Creative intersections and crosswalks, also known as asphalt art, transform ordinary crosswalks and intersections into functional works of art. Asphalt art helps make drivers aware of crosswalks where pedestrians may be present, decorating the city and encouraging safer driving. Communities all over the world are using creative crosswalks for placemaking and to boost aesthetics and pedestrian safety. Research by the Bloomberg Foundation shows that roadway murals reduce vehicle speeds and attract pedestrians, complementing traditional traffic calming measures.
“When we help shape and design a public space we feel more ownership and connection to that place,” said Betsy Couch, Executive Director for KCCI. “Crosswalks to Classrooms engaged the nearby students as design collaborators, providing them with a learning experience, while also enhancing safety and aesthetics with a design that is reflective of their school.”
Students of Kate Sullivan Elementary and Elizabeth Cobb Middle School recommended crosswalk designs and icons representative of their schools. For example, the heart icon represents health and the school athletic programs, the light bulb represents engineering and science programs, and the musical notes represent the music programs. The paw prints represent Cobb Middle School’s mascot, and a crocodile skin pattern and the crocodile represents Kate Sullivan Elementary’s mascot, a croc.
The crosswalk’s colors and designs help warn drivers of an approaching school zone and to watch out for students crossing. In fact, Bloomberg Philanthropies found that through asphalt art the rate of car crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists decreased by 50%. In addition, when near crosswalk art there was an increase of 37% of drivers yielding to pedestrians. Projects like Crosswalks to Classrooms beautify, support the arts, and enhance safety.
These Hillcrest and Mitchell Avenue Crosswalks to Classrooms are made possible thanks to the support and involvement of The Foundation for Leon County Schools in collaboration with KCCI, the City of Tallahassee, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida, Cobb Middle School, and Kate Sullivan Middle School.
In addition, the Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) announced its 2023 placemaking initiative, an expansion of the asphalt art Crosswalks to Classrooms pilot project. To carry out the initiative, self-nominated, volunteer Community Catalysts will be selected by the selection committee. Individuals selected as Community Catalysts will create a vision for artistically pleasing and safety-enhancing painted asphalt murals on intersections and/or creative crosswalks that will be a permanent fixture in Tallahassee’s landscape. The application cycle for the 2023 Community Catalyst program year closes October 26, 2022.
KCCI Community Catalysts are change-agents in the Tallahassee community. Through a self-nomination process, interested catalysts apply and then a diverse group is selected to serve as the year’s “Catalyst Class.” The Catalysts volunteer their time, and with input from KCCI, implement a sense of place project each year. To apply go to: https://kccitallahassee.com/get-involved/become-a-catalyst/application/
Crosswalks to Classrooms is part of KCCI’s 4th Annual Placemaking Week. In addition, KCCI’s 2023 Community Catalyst project marks KCCI’s 15th year of strengthening Tallahassee’s identity through placemaking projects that help drive economic vitality and bring community members together. KCCI trains its Community Catalysts on economist Richard Florida’s research. This research shows that the economic prosperity of a community is directly related to its ability to attract and retain members of the creative sector through the creation of places where people want to connect. KCCI then challenges the Catalysts to implement a sense of place project that helps attract and retain the creative class, young professionals and college graduates.
For information about applying to be a Community Catalyst or to view past KCCI placemaking projects, visit https://kccitallahassee.com
For more information about Foundation for Leon County Schools visit their website here.
For more information about Crosswalks to Classrooms in Tallahassee, click here.
To view images from Crosswalks to Classrooms, click here.
KCCI was created in 2007 and has been annually selecting Tallahassee residents and training them on the concepts of the book, The Rise of the Creative Class. These Community Catalysts volunteer their time to learn the concepts and implement a project that enhances Tallahassee’s sense of place as a community that would be able to attract and retain the creative class, young professionals and college graduates. To date, KCCI has led more than 30 total projects and more than 250 Community Catalysts have volunteered their time to help create a sense of place throughout Tallahassee while engaging the creative class. KCCI is funded through donations including: Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, VyStar Credit Union, Taproot, FAMU School of Business and Industry, Florida State University College of Business, NAI Talcor, Structure Real Estate, Nolia & Bill Brandt, Lewis + Whitlock, Wood + Partners, BowStern Marketing, Serena and Jon Moyle, Cassidy and Company, Tharpe Construction, Flightline Group, Inc., Drs. Chaney, Couch, Callaway, Carter and Associates Family Dentistry, Charlie Johnson, Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida, and Archibald Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.kccitallahassee.com.