We all know them-those anonymous grey stairs that are just about everywhere. At the north side of Vancouver City Hall. On the west side of the Cambie Canada Line Station. Kudos to this project in the Bronx of New York City as reported in NextCity that were placed on stairs specifically to make them more interesting and to address obesity. The two neighbourhoods where they were placed have the highest rate of obesity in the city, where 35 per cent of residents are classified as obese.
Funded by playground building organizer KaBoom, the stair murals were designed to encourage people to use the stairs, according to New York City’s health commissioner. The mural artists were chosen through an open request for proposals. The artists then partnered with DreamYard a Bronx youth arts organization to host workshops to create the designs, incorporating ethnic imagery and symbols. This process built trust and secured neighbourhood buy in for the art.
The murals will be in place until the summer of 2018 and it will be interesting to see their condition after a New York City winter. In the interim two sets of drab grey concrete stairs have become colourful focal points for the neighbourhood, championing creativity, imagination and health.