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KCCI Opens Application to New Community Catalysts

KCCI Reveals 2023 Placemaking Project,

Opens Application to New Community Catalysts

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— The Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) announced its 2023 placemaking initiative, an expansion of the Crosswalks to Classrooms asphalt art 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:

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.

“This placemaking initiative has great potential to beautify intersections. We all depend on safe streets for transport and recreation,” said Betsy Couch, Executive Director of KCCI. “This functional public art reduces vehicle speeds and attracts pedestrians.”

During the project, KCCI’s team will engage diverse groups — residents, students, businesses, local governments and others — through participatory urban planning. The goal is to create memorable public art that improves roadway safety and the experience of moving around Tallahassee.

Research by the Bloomberg Foundation shows that roadway murals reduce vehicle speeds and attract pedestrians, complementing traditional traffic calming measures. Creative crosswalks beautify, support the arts, and enhance safety. They help promote active forms of transportation and strengthen community by getting people outdoors.

The foundation for this new initiative is the pilot version of the Crosswalks to Classrooms project. Weather permitting, the pilot will culminate on September 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when KCCI will host a community painting for crosswalks near Kate Sullivan Elementary and Elizabeth Cobb Middle School. KCCI brought the pilot version of Creative Crosswalks to Tallahassee in in partnership with Foundation for Leon County SchoolsKate Sullivan Elementary, Elizabeth Cobb Middle, The City of Tallahassee, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida, and artist Jay Giroux.

Students at Kate Sullivan and Cobb were at the center of the planning and design process, exposing them to careers in art, communications, and city planning. After the community painting on September 24, everyone will be able see the designs that they have created with Tampa artist Jay Giroux, for crosswalks near the schools at Hillcrest Street and Mitchell Avenue.

Local artists are also invited to come out Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. to learn from Artist Jay Giroux. He has successfully implemented artistic crosswalks and intersections for the City of Tampa’s Crosswalks to Classrooms program.

The 2023 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



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