Turning blighted neighborhoods into urban galleries

Joan Vorderbruggen wants to see more art in storefronts – but not in the way you might think.

The artist wants to turn blighted streets and empty business spaces into places for public art, in the hope of revitalizing suffering neighborhoods. The project is called “Artists in Storefronts.”

Her first stop? The Whittier neighborhood.

Starting April 27, vacant and underused storefronts, as well as street corners and building facades, will feature everything from murals to yarn bombs to video projects.

The idea is to create an “interactive, walkable exhibit open to everyone.”

Vorderbruggen, who has won awards for her work in storefront design, says she was inspired by Wing Young Huie’s University Avenue project.

I started imagining an entire city block in a declining business area as this urban walking gallery, something everyone could participate in that would also help the community. And I thought, why not start it here in Whittier, in my own backyard?

The Whittier project will run through early June. Vorderbruggen says she plans to eventually expand the project to other neighborhoods.

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