Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.
Artbox Lot is an activation of a vacant lot, located in the heart of Hartford's Latino community, with El Mercado, a branch of the Hartford Public Library, two elementary schools, and a community organization all within a half-mile radius. The project site was chosen based off a neighborhood grant ($1000) through the "Love Your Block" Program given to the City of Hartford by Cities of Service, with the goal of preventing blight, reducing crime, and providing a community space for the neighborhood to enjoy and program as they see fit.
The project originated through a community process that started at the beginning of April 2019. Getting community buy-in was challenging the first month as community members did not think a project like this would work in their neighborhood. However, local residents eventually engaged with the organizer to provide input as to what they wanted on site, including basketball, flowers, movie nights, and a market. The community has continued to stay involved throughout the installation process of the project, which so far has added a mural, planters, seating, and lighting.
Since then, the site has hosted a community celebration day, put on and funded by the community, and educational workshops by local nonprofits on placemaking and transportation. The organizer also received initial push back from local police, claiming that loitering was taking place, but it was cleared up after a conversation. Now it has become a place that people stop to eat and congregate. Residents use it at night and has provided a safer atmosphere in the neighborhood. The surrounding lot owners have seen its value and have allowed us to install rain barrels on their property and add art on their walls. Parents have expressed their gratitude to have a nearby place they can bring their kids, and have organized family barbecues and special events on site.
The tables on sight get moved based on the shadows casted by the buildings. The planters on sight are moade of recycled planters and can be moved if need be. The murals on the wall add color and excitement to the brick walls. A projector wall was also added to show movies in the summer.
The project started in April 2019 with community feedback and was finished at the end of June. The site was programmed from July to September.
The initial investment was the Love your Block grant of $1000 that covered most of the material costs to install the gardens, paint for murals, painting materials and extra gardening tools. Rain barrel was donated through a City program "Retain the Rain." Four picnic tables donated through Hartford Food Systems. GoFundme campaign raised a total of $385 dollars. The nonprofit community has also donated to the project. Hartford Food systems donated four picnic tables, Real Art Ways donated paint and Transport Hartford Academy has donated gardening tools.
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.