Historic Kenwood has been named the 2020 national “Neighborhood of the Year” by Neighborhoods, USA (NUSA). Kenwood was chosen for this top honor based on winning First Place in the Neighborhood Revitalization/Beautification category – one of three categories in which winners compete for the top honor.
The awards recognize Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association’s (HKNA) Public Arts Initiative. A team of volunteers wrote a master plan, commissioned 16 artist-created signpost finials, produced 26 street banners featuring images of art by members of Historic Kenwood’s Artist Enclave, and recruited hosts for 11 Dining for Art events in 2019 that engaged 184 neighbors and friends and raised $8100. At the completion of the finial project, artists and neighbors hosted 13 engagement activities that reached more than 1000 people. The City of St. Petersburg supported the projects with a neighborhood grant, which Historic Kenwood neighbors matched with 1004 volunteer hours.
Historic Kenwood’s Public Arts Initiative began in 2017 with a vision of creating a “magnet of delight” through public art that would call attention to the artists living in the neighborhood and enrich the experience of residents and visitors alike. One of the additional goals was to bring people together in a shared sense of community through small fundraisers and engagement activities. The first project commissioned artists to transform seven park benches in 2017. The finials and banners were the next step in 2018-2019. Future projects are in the works.
Founded in 1975, NUSA is a national non-profit organization bringing together several hundred neighborhoods from across the country. They are committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations. The annual competition, begun in 1984, creates both incentives and recognition for significant improvement efforts.
HKNA has been an active participant in NUSA’s award programs over the years, garnering a 2016 1st place in Neighborhood Revitalization for its HK Partnership Program, second place in 2012 in the same category for BungalowFest 2011, and third places in the Social Revitalization category for Kenwood Kidz in 2017, and for BungalowFest 2006 in 2007. HKNA’s monthly newsletter has been honored as well.