How Art Influences Awesomeness by Karyn Johnson

South Florida Avenue in the Dixieland area is getting a makeover! Blues, yellows, reds, oh my! On February 15, The Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency launched its Art Infusion Grant Program. This grant provides $500,000 for the purpose of infusing art into our city.

You may have noticed the road diet going on in the same location. I have heard many complaints, but I am all for it. The extra 2 minutes it might take to travel through Dixieland is simply dwarfed by the gains of pedestrians, unique businesses, and now beautiful art!

Why do we need to spend a half a million dollars on art? As the Lakeland CRA manager, Alis Drumgo, puts it, “Art and redevelopment have started to go hand-in-hand." I investigated this claim and found he is onto something.

Art impacts everything from society, the economy, individuals, and the community. Art moves people like nothing else can. It brings about a visceral response in people pushing them to act, to think, to love, to learn more, to grow. Art has allowed us to communicate across languages, cultures, and even time.

Studies have shown public art adds boundless advantages to the community. Interestingly, that includes economic vitality by attracting buyers and tourists alike. More importantly though, public art helps a community feel a sense of self, a sense of belonging. It also gives residents a feeling of pride in their town and enhances their quality of life.

Basically, art influences awesomeness. I am excited to watch our South Florida Avenue bloom with color and new life!

Arts & leisure