Over the last year, I’ve worked with partner, Pitt County Arts Council (PCAC) to plan and design an arts-based community project for the community of Uptown Greenville. The project is my first large-scale design intervention / installation project since starting at ECU and moving to Eastern North Carolina and was made possible by the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy (EOSA) at ECU.
The purpose of the project is to attempt to improve and expand on the economic, cultural, and community development of Uptown Greenville by contributing to the community’s sense of place through activity-programming, cultural-historical context, and social-spatial interactions, with a specific focus on contributing to the community narrative.
The project employs a citizen-inclusive model, which emphasizes participation of community stakeholders throughout the process. This particular model emphasizes the community’s ability/responsibility to actively participate in the making (implementation phase) of the design intervention.
Stakeholders included a diverse group of Uptown Greenville community members, “a reflection of the community,” including local residents, ECU students, business owners, employers/employees, district city partners, and nearby friends and visitors of Uptown.
In November, we conducted a focus group with the participants where design concepts were shared to gauge interest and initiate feedback for the new design intervention project for Uptown.
My research team and I reviewed the data from the focus group and wrote a full report with insights and recommendations, which was presented to PCAC in February.
Some major themes that emerged from the focus group analysis included:
Long lasting impact:
The design intervention should evolve with the community.
Keep it Interactive:
The design intervention should encourage participation among visitors.
Fun for all ages and focus on our city.
The main recommendations for moving forward with the design direction included:
- create the interactive mural. #hashtag-able. Fun. Playful. Youthful.
- keep the physical, tactile components. interactive components / photo opportunities. Swings.
- ensure community content creation. Avoid a one-time experience.
- focus on the city narrative.
- participatory experience. paint by number approach, on-site – movable mural panels (all components will be movable).
The final design direction is in review and participants are standing by for more details on when implementation can begin.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing precautions, the project implementation has been delayed. We are hoping the project will be able to continue this fall with a tentative implementation plan scheduled to coincide with the “First Friday” event in September.
September 4, 5-8pm (First Friday event)
September 5, 9-4pm
September 6, 9-4pm
More details about this project will be posted as further developments are made.
This research considers and addresses how a design intervention (arts-based community project) can improve and/or expand on the economic, cultural, and community development of Uptown Greenville by contributing to the community’s sense of place through the addition of activity-programming, cultural-historical context, social-spatial interactions, etc. with a specific focus on contributing to the community narrative.