The City of Hartford's Love Your Block program provides small grants to Hartford residents who seek to beautify their neighborhoods with projects focused on combating litter, activating vacant lots, and strengthening neighborhood pride.
Research on Resilient Cities, Racism, and Equity at UConn Hartford (RRCRE) partnered with the City of Hartford and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to document, map, and share the stories and inspiration behind the community-led Love Your Block projects of 2022.
Our students' collected data was then used to build an interactive, media-rich ArcGIS StoryMap. Viewers can explore the map at their leisure, and view basic information, artist statements, photographs, and/or student-produced interview videos for each project. The StoryMap helps drive home the ubiquity and city-wide impact of the Love Your Block program, and the artists' statements and video interviews frame their projects -- and give voice to their own aspirations and artistic vision -- in their own words.
In addition to producing the StoryMap, RRCRE also hosted two Love Your Block informational sessions at UConn Hartford, open to everyone in the Hartford community who was interested in conceptualizing, planning, or applying for a LYB grant. Interested residents could meet fellow artists, previous grant recipients, community organizers, volunteers, and non-profit staff who could help them make informed decisions about project planning and -- most importantly -- encourage their creativity and initiative!