HousEART Graces Vacant Homes:

Rejuvenating Neighborhoods Blighted by Foreclosure


The HousEART Project, led by Providence artist Lydia Stein, with funding from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts and the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism, is pleased to announce the completion of seven artworks on vacant homes in Providence in its 2010 season.


Four of the artworks, funded by the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, were produced on vacant homes in Olneyville that are owned and slated for rehab by Rhode Island Housing and under the stewardship of the Olneyville Housing Corporation.


Stein produced the first 2010 HousEART mural on 63 Kossuth Street, Olneyville, with the help of some local youth, starting on the Olneyville Housing Corporation’s Neighborhood Cleanup Day on June 12. The property is located directly across from the William D’Abate Community School.


The remaining Olneyville HousEART artworks were produced by the WRMC Collaborative, Bethany Allard, and Tara Cimini, with the help of young Olneyville artists Prince Adim-Afriyie, Shaquille Hall, and Chris Medina.


Three more artworks, funded by the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism, were produced on vacant properties on Broad Street owned by the City of Providence. The three Broad Street murals were produced by Jonggeon Lee and Jee Hae Park, Rebecca Zub, and Carl Dimitri, with the help of young artists Melissa Varela and Christian Santos.


Artists and youth all received stipends for their work on HousEART. Paints were generously donated by Adler’s Hardware, and ladders were loaned to artists by painting contractor Gerry Puleo.


The HouseArt Project was initiated by Christian Caldarone of the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation in the summer of 2009, when 3 artworks were produced on vacant homes acquired and slated for rehab by the CDC. The first of these projects was produced by Stein with the help of neighborhood youth.

  

Both the Providence Business News and the Providence Journal reported on Stein’s first HousEART mural in 2009. The project involved local youth on a drop-in basis. Stein completed the mural on a volunteer basis between May and July of 2009.


HousEART seeks not only to help revitalize and beautify neighborhoods, but also to inspire community engagement, remediate urban blight, and contribute to graffiti abatement and the reduction of other crime centered around unattended properties. Similar programs in Philadelphia (http://www.muralarts.org/) and Detroit (http://www.heidelberg.org/) have shown great success in these areas.