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St. Petersburg’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood wins national honor

The neighborhood west of downtown won for revitalization and beautification.

St. Petersburg’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood has been named the 2020 national “Neighborhood of the Year.” The award came from Neighborhoods, USA, a nonprofit group whose mission is to build and strengthen neighborhood organizations. The neighborhood has received other awards from the organization in the past.

Historic Kenwood received its latest honor based on winning first place in the Neighborhood Revitalization/Beautification category. It is one of three categories in which winners compete for the top award.

Parrot finial in Historic Kenwood by Paul Barrera [ Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association ]

The awards recognize Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association’s Public Arts Initiative. Volunteers in the neighborhood just west of downtown wrote a master plan, commissioned 16 artist-created signpost finials and produced 26 street banners featuring images of art by the neighborhood’s Artist Enclave.

Hosts also were recruited for 11 Dining for Art events in 2019 that raised $8,100. After the finial project was created, artists and neighbors hosted activities that reached more than 1,000 people. The neighborhood received a grant from the city, which it matched with 1,004 volunteer hours.

Historic Kenwood’s Public Arts Initiative was started in 2017. The plan was to create a “magnet of delight” through public art that calls attention to neighborhood artists and enriches the experience of residents and visitors. The goal was also to bring people together in a shared sense of community through small fundraisers and activities.

The first project commissioned artists to transform seven park benches. The finials and banners were next, with future projects in the works.

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