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Charlotte’s future: Queen City in living color
Children weigh in with initiative
Published Saturday, August 1, 2020
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Charlotte artist Marcus Kiser designed coloring sheets for the city of Charlotte’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan to engage young people.

You can color Charlotte’s future through a city planning initiative.

Charlotte native Marcus Kiser designed coloring sheets for the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The city’s planning department sees it as a way to engage youth as they move forward with the process.

Over 3,000 coloring packets will be distributed, primarily through Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. They include a QR code, which can be used to learn more about the 2040 plan. There are 2,500 packets in English, which will be given out at the 13 Project LIFT Schools at the start of the school year. Packets will also be available in Spanish, and will also be distributed at summer camps and restaurants. Eventually the coloring sheets will be available online.

“The children are our future, and we’ve talked about different ways we can involve them, and one of the items that we came up with was this idea to have a coloring sheet that children can color that represents the future of our city,” said Melony McCullough, senior project manager, business executive services with the city. “We’ll use that in various ways as time goes on. There may be contests and other ways of promoting the coloring sheet.”

Charlotte’s Division Manager – Long Range & Strategic Planning, Alysia Osborne approached Kiser about the project. They wanted the sheets to appeal to both children and adults.
“We know a lot of adults are into coloring now, but the primary focus is providing a way for children and students with input and involvement with Charlotte Future 2040, and being aware of the process and having the voice,” McCullough said.

Kiser uses Afrofuturism as a way to show young people of color that they have a place in the city’s future.

“Throughout history, these are the people who have been left out of the conversation,” Kiser said. “You can see that as you drive around places in Charlotte. Even with schools in historically Black neighborhoods versus schools in new developed neighborhoods. You can see it everywhere.”

One side of the sheet is designed for teenagers with more of comic book style. The other side is for a younger audience, featuring a robot strolling through a park with the words “imagine Charlotte” below. Above is a school and housing.

“The robot has 2040 written on him, and he’s working through this park thinking about housing, schools and parks,” Kiser said.

Kiser created the sheets so they could be colored through a print or digital format. He also created a list of free apps they could use for the digital format.

Kiser is focusing on public art and engagement in 2020 as part of his Arts & Science Council Creative Renewal fellowship. The coloring sheets project with the city offers another outlet for his vision of using art as a way to help others.

“I guess all of this sort of ties into the work for the Creative Renewal Fellowship, because my whole plan for that was how do we imagine public art, and how can that public art engage people without it having to be a painted mural somewhere or a sculpture?” Kiser said. “These coloring pages being distributed through communities through digital and print formats can tie into a form of public art and engagement.”

For more information: https://charlottenc.gov/charlottefuture/2040Plan/Pages/default.aspx


This is a wonderful project. As Education Programs Coordinator for Refugee Support Services in Charlotte, I am interested in distributing these coloring sheets to our children and youth clients. Is there a possibility that someone can contact me about RSS's distribution of these resources? Ideally, we would like to distribute at least 200. Thank you,
Posted on August 18, 2020

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