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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Initiative brings South End together
Neighborhood Living Room for everyone
Published Friday, October 16, 2015 10:21 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Directions to the Neighborhood Living Room in South End are easy to find. The initiative, in its first year, brings people together in open space for arts, refreshments and conversation.


















Engage. Encourage. Inspire.

South End denizen Varian Shrum’s initiative to personalize public space reached new levels with the Neighborhood Living Room at the Dilworth Artisan Station October 15-18. After earning a $5,000 grant through K880 Emerging City Champions (a Canadian non-profit), in which the Knight Foundation and 880 Cities collaborated to fund a project to produce a more livable city.

Shrum’s blog documents the 12-month initiative to improve Charlotte.

“We have breweries, we have Food Truck Friday, we have Common Market Courtyard, and all those places are great to gather, but they’re not free,” Shrum said. “So I really wanted a true quality public space here in South End.” 

A native of Washington D.C., Shrum and her husband Austin moved to Charlotte after attending Wake Forest University.

“I’ve been in Charlotte for two years, and I live on the Rail Trail here in South End,” she said.

Moving to a new city can prove stressful. Making new friends or even connecting with neighbors may appear like a foreign concept as a support system already exists back home. Initiatives such as the Living Room provide Charlotte residents—both longtime and new—with the opportunity to communicate and converse in a friendly atmosphere rather than wait until an issue arises for a need for communication to arise as well.

Enter the League of Creative Interventionists, which teamed up with Shrum. Various groups throughout the world have emerged, with everyday people bringing spontaneity and creativity into day-to-day life. This month in Charlotte focuses on love letters.

“We’re writing love letters,” Charlotte resident Johnny Wakefield said. “We’re leaving those love letters all around town so that they can brighten people’s day and let them know they are worth it and loved—just being encouraging for people.”

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