Finding ways to help local business owners improve their window displays is a perenial issue. The small convenience stores typically found in urban areas are notorious for their cluttered displays, boxes and merchandise in the window blocking views into the store (which has the added “benefit” of turning store into a target for thieves), and posters and stickers haphazardly placed over all the windows. Many of us are very familiar with this challenge. But a creative partnership between a local Visual Arts school and a local development corporation in Staten Island hopes to change all that. As a consultant to the Coro Neighborhood Leadership Program, the first commercial district leadership training program of it’s kind in the nation, I had the benefit of hearing Michelle Sledge, Economic Development Coordinator for the Northfield Community Local Development Corporation share the impact of her “Community Change Project” with her NL colleagues as part of our final program day.

The results of her efforts, a program dubbed ¡Revive!, brings together graduate students from the Manhattan School of Visual Arts (SVA) to provide volunteer service that helped make the display windows of Monte Alban, a Mexican market, more appealing. According to Michele, the owner couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome and believes it is helping business. Her story is one of many that I heard yesterday that continue to inspire me – and I hope they inspire you too! I’ll be sure to share a few others with you in the coming weeks.

Here is a great video documenting the day….