Launched in 2013, 5×5 Indy creates a space to for people in Indianapolis to share and support arts based ideas for community projects. Each 5×5 event showcases five ideas and awards one with $10k.
We thought it’d be fun to catch up with our winners to see what happened with their project and what they’re up to now. Today we’re talking with John Moore who won at a 5×5 hosted by the IndyHub in 2014.
John’s Proposal: The Indy Redbud Project
The Indy Redbud Project is a community identity + environment proposal that will over time help to unify the Mapleton Fall Creek neighborhood and help restore the urban tree canopy. Indy’s inner city has had a long and difficult past including challenges around housing, health, education, crime, jobs and wealth-building, and the environment.
Once thriving communities across the city are now burdened with vacant lots, a degraded environment, and limited positive community interactions. Indy needs some love. So how can we innovatively, creatively and sustainably help our neighbors and fellow Hoosiers fall in love again with and populate the urban heart of Indianapolis?
Our idea is simple – make it beautiful. Redbud trees are native ornamental trees that can populate streets, yards, and neighborhoods with pinks and magentas each spring. The trees are versatile, and easy to propagate. They can grow in the shade or sun, wet or dry, and even the poor soil conditions found in many vacant lots and difficult open spaces.
The project is to create a program to cultivate and plantredbud trees throughout an Indy community and to create a new seasonal annual event to help bring people to love our urban neighborhoods.
Will you give us an update on your project?
Throughout spring of 2015 we’ve planted more than 100 redbud trees in the Mapleton-Fall Creek Community.
We have a number of outstanding requests for tree plantings from individuals and also from block associations such as the Birchwood Neighbors. It is not ideal to plant trees during the summer, so we have another round of tree planting planned for fall 2015, using trees purchased through the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District’s tree program.
The fall planting will include neighbors planting in their yards, and also in public areas throughout the neighborhood. Interested individuals can find out information and request trees on our website, indyredbud.org.
Site content includes (or will include) information about tree care, materials about CPTED (pronounced sep-ted) strategies “crime prevention through environmental design” which gives tips on how people can use landscaping and planting to make their streets more beautiful and improve visibility and safety, as well as map to track where we have planted trees. Here is the tree map.
In addition, over the summer, we also worked with TeenWorks to host local youth for summer jobs to help clear a formerly city-owned vacant lot and plant trees at our Ruckle Redbud Grove, as a community green space.
Finally, the other component of the Indy Redbud Project is to start what we call the Indy Redbud Festival. We are working with Angelina Moore and the MFCDC to plan a new and hopefully annual springtime civic event. Currently the inaugural event is scheduled for May 2016. It will take place in the heart of the city with food, arts, music and positive energy activating our public space and urban environment.
There’s more to presenting at a 5×5 then just winning, right? What would you say you learned from participating?
I’ve learned that we need more programs like 5X5 in Indy. In order to change things you need money. The 5X5 program provides the opportunity to try new things. Without funding, you simply can’t accomplish new things.
Winning the 5×5 provided funding necessary to get the Redbud Project started, and being interviewed on Inside Indiana Business was great.
As a 5×5 veteran, what advice do you have someone participating in a 5×5 challenge?
The 5×5 challenge is a great way to get started learning how to pitch concepts and begin getting your feet wet in fundraising and implementation.
Just getting the project started and getting everything rolling. Ongoing funding is always a challenge, it would be great for winners to be “fast-tracked” to other Indy-based grants.
What fun and unexpected outcomes have you encountered?
Working with volunteers and the interesting and community support have all been really great.
We can always use volunteers for the fall tree planting, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of October 17th, so if anyone wants to volunteer or donate they can contact us via our website: indyredbud.org.
It’s been about a two years since your 5×5 win, and we want to know what you’re working on now.
Since winning the IndyHub 5×5 pitch we have been busy advancing the redbud project. We just installed a public artwork this summer. We are working on rehabbing a house and we’re working on a food desert educational program. You can learn more here:http://urbanpatch.org/
In April, we presented the project as part of Indianapolis Creative Mornings — and connecting the project as one example of the larger “Love Indy” movement: