Monday, June 25, 2007

Paint Your Heart Out, a Neighborhood Solution

I love my neighborhood. Anyone who knows me well knows that. I have done my best to improve it. Every June we have a neighborhood event we call "Paint Your Heart Out." It began in 2001, and has essentially continued each year since then. We gather scores of volunteers (200 is not uncommon) and repaint several homes in a day. Since the program started, my estimate is that we've done 33 homes. It has made an incredible difference.

Once you repaint a historic home, you give it back some of its "life." You suddenly inspire the neighbors that own the houses on either side of it to do something with their own house. So, for the 33 homes we've done, their have been at least that many others that were done as "copycats."

I first got involved in this program in 2002, when my neighbors across the street had their home painted. I learned then that it took a lot of organization, and prep work. Gathering ladders, contributions, getting food for lunch, etc. But the results were unbelievable. 5 years have come and gone since then, and we've gotten better at a lot of this. We have the help of a neighborhood non-profit called Neighborhood Housing Services. We are better at color selection, and encouraging people to select historic colors, and use multiple colors.

While the Victorians are really good at showing off their paint jobs, the Bungalows still have some really positive changes. Enjoy the before and "during."