The College of Architecture + The Arts’ Department Chairs Jacek Kolasinski (Art + Art History) and Roberto Rovira (Landscape Architecture) have collaborated on a project to create public art and secure an area of Lauderhill. With the help of the City of Lauderhill, the Community Foundation of Broward, and the Broward YMCA, the Chairs and three graduate students (Amanda Vargas-Love of LAA, Andrea Sandoval of LAA, and Nick Gilmore of A+AH) will start on this artistic service project. “Own the Overpath” involves an overpass that sits in-between the Lauderhill Community YMCA and an area that experiences high levels of criminal activity. Children attending Lauderhill Middle School and the YMCA use this overpass frequently. Unfortunately, the structure is no escape from frequent crimes: students have reportedly been confronted and robbed while using the overpass. Rovira and Kolasinksi endeavor to solve this issue.
The City of Lauderhill approved of “Own the Overpath,” and the Community Foundation of Broward funded the project with its Art of Community Grant in 2013. Art of Community Project Manager Glenn Weiss said that some objectives of the Grant are that “…[c]ommunity problems are solved collaboratively using the arts to bridge different sectors[, and that the] arts are recognized as essential to a strong community.” Jocelyn Boyd, Executive Director of the Lauderhill Community YMCA, said, “Art increases dialogue and bridges gaps across all ethnic, age, and demographic backgrounds….As a result of this project, many students who in any other situation would not have a relationship, beg[i]n to form bonds of friendship, common ground, and cooperative action.” Through the support of Broward YMCA and the Community Foundation of Broward’s Art of Community Grant, Kolasinski and Rovira are able to start on the project.
“[C]ollaboration is a part of my artistic language, or vocabulary,” said Kolasinski about his involvement in the project. “[‘Own the Overpath’] is a creative way of looking at the existing social problem that [can be] resolved through conversations, discussions, and brainstorming….[A]rt becomes a platform that facilitates [this] process.”
For more information on the Art of Community Initiative, by the Community Foundation of Broward, click here.
The images are provided by Roberto Rovira.