Future Blooms program helps beautify blighted properties, urge economic development

Cincinnati’s vacant buildings have been receiving makeovers since 2009, thanks to Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and its Future Blooms program.

Those who participate in Future Blooms paint plywood barricades to look like colorful attributes of what one would see on the outside of a livable space — awnings, flower boxes, windows and doors.

“We find eyesores in a community, and turn them into community assets by using the neglected space to create simple works of art," says Mary Huttlinger, executive director for KCB.

This past weekend, KCB celebrated a milestone as Future Blooms painted its 1,000th vacancy.

The impact?

“Our program uses art as a catalyst for reducing blight, crime and graffiti in Cincinnati neighborhoods,” Huttlinger says.

In fact, in target areas, Future Blooms has contributed to an average drop in crime by 27 percent, blight reduction by 27 percent and an increase in economic development by 34 percent.

And the artwork is serving as a model for other cities that are struggling with vacancy and the problems it presents.

KCB’s mission is to “educate and encourage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their environments,” and it’s with milestones like 1,000 works of art to replace vacant buildings — hubs for otherwise potentially dangerous activity — that the nonprofit is exceeding its vision.


- Volunteer with KCB and its Future Blooms program.

- Support KCB by donating.

- Like KCB on Facebook.

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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