It is happening!
for the last week over a thousand people volunteered to clean and paint the pedestrian in front of town House in Harare. This is the result of over two years of preparation, contacts, lobbying and persuasion from Urban Space -my wife's company-. Lou has been relentless in pushing the idea of bringing art, environment and co-creation and working to transform public spaces.
Mainly she loves Harare and have dreams that most people feel are impossible to reach because "they" should do something about it. They start with I and I turns into We. I'mpossible, Colouring, greening, bringing people together is not only something good to do, it is also something that is so important to build a community, to take ownership and to move forward. She cannot take no for an answer - so being her husband it's not the most comfortable route all the time, hahaha.
For the last two years, she build relationships, shared her visions and dreams, annoyed people to the point of getting authorizations and then convincing them, making them part of her dreams and letting her dream go with the people who jumped in. The way she dances with people is truely a work of art in itself.
She got support from the Culture Fund, Hivos, the Swedish Embassy, Proudly Zimbabwe (big up Fungai!), the Art of Hosting practitionners in Zim, the youths fro Kufunda's leadership program, Dulux and many many more.
She launched a public consultation and vote for the designs to paint on the street, which saw the ones proposed by Jimmy Saruchera and Martin Steward being voted to be produced, and now, the city is a bit more colourfull.
The reaction of the public is amazing, people were asking questions, participating in the paint, sitting on the new public seats, just feeling a bit more happy and smiling.
And that is good.
It is incredible what is happening here.
The paint is only the tip of the iceberg. She has really been building bridges, a community, appropriation of a public space, and created something beautifull.
She is just too cool.
Check it here: https://www.facebook.com/ColourSpekes