As part of an ongoing streetscape improvement project on Piccadilly Street, the City of Winchester has turned street parking spaces into parklets designed by local artists.
Arte Libre VA, a local nonprofit that works to empower Latinx, Black, and Youth of Color through equitable access to quality arts education and programming, was a major partner for the project. They helped facilitate the artist search and selection panel process. During the submission process, there was a big focus on finding underrepresented voices within in the community that spanned all ages—from school children to adults.
The artist that submitted each selected design was then invited to help facilitate the installation of their painting. Paid, professional artists from Arte Libre were also on-site to oversee the installation process and help get the design transferred to the street, which was done freehand with chalk. Community volunteers and passerby were then invited to actually paint the murals.
A total of twelve parklets were completed over the course of multiple weekends (weather permitting) in 2022. The parking space murals were so popular that they will be installing another twelve this spring on the other side of Piccadilly Street. The additional mural designs have already been submitted and juried.
Winchester, an Advancing Virginia Main Street community, utilized a $25,000 Virginia Main Street (VMS) Downtown Investment Grant (DIG) from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to help fund this project. In conjunction with the parklets, the city has funded additional streetscape and façade improvements along Piccadilly Street. This has spurred lots of private investment on a traditionally overlooked street in the downtown district. Alex Flanigan, Main Street Program Manager for the City of Winchester, is very excited to see the renewed investment and activity just beyond Old Town Winchester’s (OTW) pedestrian mall. New businesses have already relocated to Piccadilly Street with more coming soon!
Photo Credit: Blaire Buergler