We here at the Rochesteriat are always looking for ways to get involved in the POSITIVE change here in our city. We know that it's not just the big developments that make a great city, but each and every little project that effects change here, like the Fruit Belt Project.
"The Fruit Belt Project is a beautification movement and collaboration between Greentopia and DUNWOODE Consulting to create a series of large-scale, vibrantly colored, and community driven public artworks. Project goals include: giving the neighborhood a unified identity, creating jobs for local residents, bringing beauty to a historic neighborhood often highlighted for negative reasons, and inspiring long term investment and additional resources for the community" (via DUNWOODE website).
Their kick-off event, the Big Paint-Out on May 13th coincides with Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week (May 11th - 16th) and it just so happens that they are sponsoring the event and donating all of the paint and supplies in addition to the 25 employees that will be volunteering.
Here are 4 reasons why you should get involved:
1. You Get to Paint BUILDINGS
It's not everyday that someone hands you a paint brush and lets you paint the side of a public building, so now's your chance. During the Big Paint-Out, Stop One Meat Market located at 352 Jay Street and College Club Beverages at 63 Grape Street will be painted - quite colorfully we hear. Be a part of the art.
2. It's FREE
This event will only cost you some time. Even if you only volunteer for ONE of the many time slots (3 hour intervals), you'd still be making a big difference. If you calculate out your week: 24 hours a day and 7 days gives you 168 hours. 3 hours out of that, which is less than 1% of your week, is nothing compared to what you'll be investing into the city.
You can even park for free at Sahlen's Stadium which is only a block away.
3. It will be FUN
Shawn Dunwoody, who's leading the charge, is hoping to have 200 people come out. People from all ages and walks of life will infiltrate this neighborhood to not only paint the buildings, but to help plant a vegetable garden and clean the area. Joe Bean will be there with coffee, along with other food trucks and music. AND not that you need to get something out of it, but the Rhinos will be giving away a ticket to each volunteer for one of their upcoming games.
4. This Neighborhood Needs YOU
Lastly, and most importantly, this neighborhood needs you. In 2011, a Master Plan for the JOSANA Neighborhood was created, "The purpose of the plan was to change the face of the Josana neighborhood after the community endured decades of crime, violence, decline and abandonment. The neighborhood that was commonly referred to as a 'ghost town', earned itself the reputation of one of the worst neighborhoods in the city". (Rochesterhomepage.net)
Painting buildings and planting gardens may not seem like they make much of a difference, but they change attitudes, uplift spirits, create jobs (someone has to maintain the vegetable gardens after all, right?), and do much more.
Let's come together as a city to improve one neighborhood at a time. We can't wait to see what else the Fruit Belt Project does in the future.