"We are all neighbors" mural signage at John Eager Howard Recreation Center

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Reservoir Hill kids use the newly installed chalkboard at JEH Rec Center to write about what they love in their neighborhood (8/27/12)

In spring 2012, Reservoir Hill residents joined with Maryland Institute College of Art's "Design for Change" class to design and paint a street mural about the importance of storm water at the intersection of Lennox St. and Brookfield Ave. Though we had to wait out the rain a few times, the final "We are all neighbors" mural,--depicting fish, crabs, and waves in concentric circles-- was finally installed the last week of May. The only problem was: how do you explain what it all means to a someone just passing by?

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The finished street mural at the corner of Lennox St. and Brookfield Ave. (5/25/12)

Fortunately for us, Rachel--one of the original MICA "Design for Change" students-- was interested in creating signage that would explain to folks what exactly it was that we had painted on the street. Over the course of a few weeks this summer, she designed and painted a series of sign boards with youth from John Eager Howard Recreation Center's summer camp. The "front" of each board explains a piece of information related to the environmental, community, and educational impact of the mural.

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Beginning work on the rough outline of the "We are all neighbors" sign front (7/24/12)

The "back" of each board is a chalkboard that encourages people to respond to a specific prompt, for example "I love..." or "We will," based on the images and messaging that the MICA class and community residents had developed over the course of their spring collaboration.

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John Eager Howard Recreation Center youth set a chalkboard sign against the courtyard fence (8/27/12)

The "front" of the signs include miniature versions of the mural design, including outlines of fish and crabs, that kids of all ages could help paint as part of John Eager Howard Recreation Center's summer camp program.

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John Eager Howard Recreation Center summer campers help paint the final signs (7/25/12)

Fast forward to John Eager Howard Recreation Center's "Back to School Open House" event on Monday 8/27/12, and the signs were ready to be installed! Thanks to Adam, our fearless volunteer construction expert, who helped teach the students how to attach the signs to the existing fence posts along the front courtyard.

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John Eager Howard Recreation Center students get the signs ready for installation (8/27/12)

Using a power drill and some plastic zip ties, the kids put up all 6 signs in about 45 minutes!

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So now anytime you walk along Brookfield Ave. near Lennox St., you'll not only know what the mural on the street is about, but you'll also have a chance to write something about what it's like to live in your neighborhood.

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Ms. Buford writes: "I love...living in Reservoir Hill" (8/27/12)