As I was walking to work this morning, I couldn’t help but look up at the buildings along the way. At first, I was disappointed to see nothing but shades of concrete grey. But then, I started to look a little closer. I began to notice the intricate details within each of the buildings. From elaborate stone window dressings to archways adorned with decorative latticework. All things I don’t take enough time to appreciate the true beauty of. Yet, for whatever reason, all these labor-intensive details stood out to me this morning.
Upon entering the office, I started to think about all the new construction I saw over the weekend—the modern-looking apartment complexes with colored glass walls, Juliet balconies and stainless steel lighting fixtures. It was the same style I saw in new constructions throughout Cleveland, Boston and New York City. It’s almost as if these companies are using cookie-cutters to form these structures. It’s a bit unsettling, because there’s nothing unique about them. There’s nothing that makes you understand where you are and what came before.
That’s why citywide creative projects, such as Philly’s Mural Arts Program, are so important. They help maintain and cultivate a city’s true identity. But in reality, we can't rely on such initiatives. It’s up to the people to make things happen. In each of the agencies I’ve visited thus far, I’ve meet extraordinary people who not only utilize their creative minds for clients, but also pursue outside endeavors that add to their city’s personality. From hosting shows at an art house cinema to helping rebuild a neighborhood’s brand and vision, these collective projects help to keep the “cookie-cutters” at bay.
They may not be the flashiest areas, but you can always tell when you’re entering an artistic neighborhood, because it’s sure to be the most distinct and captivating. So, I encourage everyone reading this to look at where you live and see if there’s anything you can do to improve it, distinguish it or even rebuild it. We are all creative people and that should never be limited to the hours of 9-5.