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Painting the way to more permanent crosswalks in the Holmes neighborhood

Holmes Community crosswalk art
Posted at 3:57 PM, Aug 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-29 15:57:55-04
  • Neighbors in the Holmes Street Community are coming together to permanently paint crosswalks to their neighborhoods.
  • Painted crosswalks that have been finished or will be completed are Walsh and Penn, Hazel and Penn, Climax and Penn and Malcolm X and Holmes Street.
  • Each crosswalk is designed by Elyse Gambino with native Michigan flowers and butterflies.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Normally streets just look like, plain, boring pavement. But several neighbors in Lansing are coming together to make the ends of their streets, special.

“One of our neighbors saw the artwork in the crosswalk that Joe is doing over at Foster My Neighborhood and loves it,” said Holmes Street School Community Communications Coordinator Marybeth VanHorn.

A project that started as an idea turned into a must do.

“I reached out and said, 'okay, we can do this, but I cannot draw and unless you want stick figures, we need an artist,” VanHorn said.

Luckily, they had an artist in the neighborhood.

“I was like, oh my gosh, I would feel so honored if I got to design something that was in my neighborhood and this would be such an incredible opportunity to like leave the place better than when I found it," said artist Elyse Gambino.

Gambino knew this was a project she had to be involved in.

“The thrill of having your mark on the street is like, it's the same kind of thing we all want to do when you see wet pavement," Gambino said. "You like, want to put your initials on it or your hand print and this is a way to do it in a really beautiful way.”

The community group wanted to paint the four main entrance crosswalks to their neighborhoods.

“Walsh and Penn, Hazel and Penn and Climax and Penn and then Malcolm X and Home Street,” VanHorn said.

Gambino added up the total cost of supplies which came out to a little over $1,200. VanHorn and the community group received a neighborhood art grant from the City of Lansing.

“It's exciting to be able to have that supply and not worry about it and do it right," VanHorn said.

Allowing Gambino to move forward and decide what to paint on each crosswalk.

“A local neighbor who takes care of the garden had a ton of really beautiful photos and knowledge about what's local," Gambino said. "I picked out the flowers that I loved and were native to Michigan and included some butterflies too, because actually monarchs are the most common butterfly in Michigan and they're so iconic and beautiful.”

Each crosswalk is painted with permanent paint meant to last for a long time. Gambino said she started by painting the street with a sealant before adding the design and painted over the design with another layer of sealant. She said it's been a process of learning as you go, but so far the two that are finished are holding up pretty well.

But it's the help from the entire neighborhood and bringing together neighbors that might not usually see each other.

“You know people who are next door or across the street from you," VanHorn said. "You really don't know two, three streets over, but this project has brought us all together."

Leaving a permanent mark of each person involved.

“Seeing them up close you can really see like the different hands that were involved and that's an exciting record of our neighborhood," Gambino said.

That makes this project so special.

“It really does make your neighborhood special," VanHorn said. "I love my neighbors. I love my neighborhood and it makes Lansing special.”

The next crosswalk painting will be the Climax and Penn intersection on Saturday, Sept. 2, weather permitting. Anyone who wants to get involved in the project can show up to the painting or follow the Holmes Street School Community on Facebook.

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Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Tianna Jenkins

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter