Press Releases

Birmingham Museum of Art’s Artist-in-Residence Honored for Neighborhood Art Project

PRESS RELEASE                                                                              Thursday, April 2, 2015

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov

BIRMINGHAM, AL- Congrats are in order, for one of Birmingham’s rising artists. Toby Richards, an artist in residence at the Birmingham Museum of Art was recently named a finalist for the 2015 Neighborhoods, USA Best Neighborhood Program (BNP) Award! The BNP award recognizes the outstanding work of governmental entities, businesses or corporations in the United States that work to improve the quality of life in their communities and neighborhoods. Ms. Richard is being honored for her work in Councilor William Parker’s district that revolves around a project titled, “Into the Streets.” The project included multiple community groups working together to create a series of mural panels that not only physically revitalized a community center and park through art but also allowed for a social transformation of the area and increased usage.

“This project is an example of the positive change that can be accomplished when neighborhoods work together towards a unified goal.” Ms. Richards said. “It’s incredibly humbling to be recognized on a national stage for work that transformed a very deserving community.”

Since the mural installation, the community has noticed the trees surrounding the center are trimmed more frequently, which has enhanced the business district, and they feel the murals act as a welcoming landscape for the passengers landing at Birmingham International Airport. Linda Coleman, ADA Director for the City of Birmingham, commented: “When people look from the highway they used to see a broken-down building in a flood zone, but now the center provides a welcoming canvas for all of the citizens of Birmingham and others who fly into the Magic City.”

Birmingham City Councilor William Parker echoed Ms. Coleman’s comments noting that, “Art will not only enhance the beauty of the park, but also the serenity and overall experience of our visitors. It also gave life back to the community and a sense of pride which was necessary to restore hope. These bright, celebratory murals were painted to celebrate new beginnings and we believe these works of art not only showcase the talents and spirit of neighborhoods uniting, but resulting in lifelong partnerships and new relationships.”

A winner for the BNP Award will be announced during the 2015 Neighborhoods USA Conference that will be held in Houston, TX May 20-23, 2015.

For more information, please contact the Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at 205.254.2036 or brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov.