Artist-in-residence Kong Wee Pang visits with student artists who will be designing creative crosswalks for the City of Germantown.

Public art can contribute to the visual and textural character of a community, create a sense of place or foster a sense of spirit by celebrating history or cultural heritage. Public art seeks to inspire relationships and communication. Did you know that one of the City of Germantown's newest commissions is tasked with just that?

The Germantown Public Art Commission, in addition to creating art spaces, has also partnered with GMSD on an exciting new venture. The City of Germantown's Public Art Manager Cat Pena and Houston High School Art Teacher Bobby Spillman are using GMSD's most talented young artists to design "creative crosswalks" proposals for the Commission.

Creative crosswalks use colors, textures, and patterns to enliven city streets as engaging and safe places for people. They can be designed to reflect the special character of a neighborhood, mark the gateway to a district, or otherwise create local identity and pride.

One of these gateways, says Pena, will include the new stoplight/crosswalk in front of Houston High School. "Who better to assist with that design than the students?" she said.

As the teacher of the students, Spillman saw an opportunity for a teachable moment. "As a working artist myself--I know there's a huge industry for public art," said Spillman. But, there is a learning curve to landing those more lucrative projects for an artist.

Thus, in the first phase of the partnership, GMSD and the City of Germantown are bringing in local public art experts Kong Wee Pang and Anthony D Lee. Last week, Pang discussed her design process with advanced placement art students. Check out some of her public art works here.

Stay tuned in to your GMSD Neighborhoods as we follow students on their journey to the creative crosswalks.