We’re committed to the power of art in the lives of youth, and so we maintain several programs dedicated to bringing art into the lives of children in Brightmoor. We maintain an after-school art program in St. Christine’s, as well as a summer weekly Art on the Farm Way event working with Summer in the City. Beyond this, we have integrated art into the community through our many beautiful gardens and murals throughout the farm way. Each year the addition of more color and beauty into the community has encouraged more and more people to invest in the neighborhood, and allowed us to achieve our goal of community participation as well.
The year-round Youth Development Program has facilitated the employment of neighborhood children in the garden and taught them not only gardening, but self-sufficiency and the value of hard work. Outside of the gardens, we have activities like Farm Day on the Farm Way to get local youth excited about our programs and interested in the community and how they can become a part of it. Through this investment in our children, we believe we can create the community we want to live in.
Ideas for community gardens come from inside the neighborhood, not outside, and we make those ideas happen. Over time, this has built our community as people have learned that they can make a difference from inside our neighborhood, rather than having to leave. These gardens have both brought color into the neighborhood and provided 34,000 square feet of growing space bringing in $7,000 for market gardeners. By bringing both beauty and business into Brightmoor, our gardens have created a stronger sense of community for our neighbors.
By both taking down or boarding up abandoned homes and then leaving art or gardens in their place, we have created visible evidence of our neighborhood’s turnaround. Empty houses have served in the past only as a source of drugs, crime, and blight, but now with our murals they serve as a source of pride of the neighborhood that even those driving through can see.
In 2013, Neighbors Building Brightmoor and the Wayne County Sheriff launched the S.C.O.U.T. Patrol, pairing neighbors and sheriff’s deputies in regular neighborhood patrols to address quality of life issues as well as criminal activity and patterns.