We own a variety of affordable quality row homes in the Kensington and Harrowgate neighborhoods. Some of these homes have experienced long-term vacancy and neglect that has caused them to be unlivable. To bring the quality and livability levels to our high standards, our team must conduct extensive rehabs. This is a process that requires us to board up the doors and windows on some houses while we renovate the property to maintain safety and security.
Our team saw an opportunity with boarding up the properties. The plywood to be placed in windows and doors was the perfect blank canvas to inspire. Motivated by organizations in Camden, Trenton, and Brooklyn, we developed Show Your Kensington to create art boards that beautify our homes, bring communities together, and help heal the trauma experienced from home vacancy. Our goal: make art accessible and community focused.
Aware of the positive effects of art on a neighborhood, we developed a program to engage with local school teachers and students to create the art boards. We wanted community voices and perspectives to ensure the art was meaningful and inspiring to the community.
We partnered with teachers at students at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School to thoughtfully and artfully be a part of how their neighborhood looks. Shift supplied the boards and the Sankofa created the works of art. We offered limited direction to students and teachers, giving them creative reign to their designs. Our team worked side-by-side with Sankofa to develop and deliver the final pieces of art.