The Konnected Foundation Inc
SPARK (Socialize, Play, Accommodate to Reach Kids)
S.P.A.R.K (Socialize. Play. Accommodate to Reach Kids) will be the first of its kind in Charlotte, where art meets play, people unite, and social interaction becomes the norm again. The project was specifically designed for kids and their families living, working, or playing in the neighborhoods of Beatties Ford and Central Ave to become more active at their local bus stop and in the nearby park. The sites were carefully chosen, as each neighborhood's bus stop and park are walking-distance to each other and to elementary schools, shopping, restaurants, and banks.
The norm is to stand at the bus stop, look at the ground, your phone, or twiddle your thumbs while waiting. Through S.P.A.R.K, the sidewalks, shelter, benches, and people come alive! Users can challenge themselves to find new images in the stop's bench or in the mural that adorns the bus stop?s shelter. Kids can play together on the Inspirational Seesaw that spells out "DREAM" or "HOPE" in their neighborhoods where dreams get deferred and hope is all they've got. If the seesaw is occupied, no worries; the users will be able to play hopscotch, master a maze, connect the dots by completing movement tasks, and create their own artwork using chalk.
The nearby parks are, by nature, conventional places to play. However, the nearby parks are often not use for their intended purposes and need a little life. S.P.A.R.K will accomplish this by hosting bi-monthly play dates called "Konnected Community Day of Play". Neighborhood residents and other visitors will be able to come together in the name of play, utilizing a game cart that is full of nostalgic and innovative games. Kids will enjoy group play with over-sized games like Jenga, Chess, Checkers, Connect Four, and participate in team-building challenges with the famous Imagination Playground set. The Jenga and Checkers sets will also serve as inspiration, as each piece will be painted to read positive words.
This project is a true community effort. Using input from the community, students from two local universities will design the background for the murals and benches, build the seesaw, and install custom play signs. Visual art majors from the local arts magnet will paint the activities on the sidewalk and the inspirational words on the game pieces. The neighborhood's residents will come together to paint the murals and benches. And the neighborhood kids and their families will come out to play! With this grant, we will be able to spark change.
- Chandra McCloud