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Major art project being installed in Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood

Major art project being installed in Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A massive art project is being installed along Portage Street, in the Edison neighborhood.

It's part of a global initiative to inspire communities through the power of art.

Newschannel 3 spoke with the project coordinator and participants, to see the impact the project is having.

The Kalamazoo County Land Bank is in charge of the project, and it's not only a great way to utilize unused space, but it's highlighting the diversity of folks who are living in the Edison neighborhood.

Seeing his face plastered on a public building is giving long time Edison neighborhood resident Justin Sloan renewed confidence.

“It's awesome. I never been a part of a project like this, because I was kind of shy,” Sloan said.

“This is a great revitalization thing for the edition community. I just think what the land bank is doing is a wonderful thing,” said project participant Scott Wilson.

Artist and participant Scott Wilson says displaying artwork outside instead of inside not only fosters an interest in art, but improves the look of the neighborhood.

“It's a face lift, you know. For the edition community,” Wilson said.

The artwork is called "We Are Edison," and as part of the Inside Out project, joins 129 communities around the world doing the same thing: taking people in local neighborhoods and highlighting their stories through portraits.

“I’ve had nothing but positive feedback. Even just walking around this neighborhood people are so excited,” said project coordinator Anna Roeder.

Roeder says this particular installation is one of the largest in the Midwest, with 112 participants.

In the last few years, the land bank has helped revitalize the Edison neighborhood, securing six commercial tenants.

She hopes the portraits highlight this building as the seventh site for development.

“By putting art on the outside we're really driving home the point of so much potential lies within,” Roeder said.

More portraits will be added in the coming days with a celebration event planned to coincide with Art Hop on August 4th.

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