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Local Efforts Turn Blighted Alleys into Art Venues

Art Alleys
Posted at 1:45 AM, Oct 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-10 10:26:59-04
Tallahassee, FL (wtxl)- Gaines Street has undergone countless renovations over the past year, but the changes are not quite over. A project called Art Alleys aims at transforming the areas filled with debris around Gaines Street, hoping to create a space for local art events.
 
Paul Rutkovsky, an art professor at FSU, started the project in 2008, because he was “sick and tired of all of the garbage and junk in the area.” He approached FSU with a syllabus for the "Get Green Workshop", so that students would be able to get involved for class credit. Throughout the semester they help maintain areas that have been neglected for years and organize art events in the alley. 
 
The City of Tallahassee’s Department of Environmental Policy and Energy Resources has joined the project and is currently focusing on funding. They hope to raise $12,000 dollars and lighting will be installed beginning in November. Project leaders are also campaigning to raise funds for erosion control, and overall improvements. The campaign was launched in October, and the city of Tallahassee is seeking support from local residents. Members of the community may purchase a brick which will eventually make up the Art Alleys walkway.
 
Not only does the project need financial support, but the transformation can be physically demanding. “It’s challenging to find volunteers to help clear the areas.” says Rutkovsky. He also says that he is interested in the ideas people have for the alleys and what kinds of events they would like to see there.
 
The Art Alleys is a product of community efforts, and developers hope it will be a hub for art and cultural events. Rutkovsky adds “The history of alleys is that they are forgotten. It’s where you put trash and dumpsters. I hope this can be a resource for community events, not only for art, but for poets, dancers and musicians.”