Imagine you are on an early morning run. You’re exhausted and you begrudgingly got out of bed. You’ve hit a wall and you are so preoccupied with your to-do list for the day that you aren’t enjoying the run. About to give up, you look down and see a positive message etched on the cement. The message, simple yet exactly what you needed at that moment, inspires you to keep going. This message and others throughout Charlotte are thanks to #thesavageway.
#thesavageway was founded in 2012 by Torrie Savage and Paula Bartlett. In addition to social media and consulting, the firm specializes in Clean Graffiti. Clean Graffiti is a technique where pressurized water is used to ‘clean’ a message onto sidewalks.
Committed to creating positive messages and a strong belief in community, #thesavageway applied for and won the 2014 Project Art Aid’s Queen City Soup micro grant. The grant is for emerging and established artists and community activists in the Charlotte metropolitan area.
Their winning concept was to use clean graffiti to clean positive messaging, in Spanish and English, in high-risk neighborhoods around Charlotte.
Wanting to create something bigger than their original concept, #thesavageway partnered with Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership & Investment For Transformation), a non-profit organization focused on creative approaches to teaching at risk students and impacts nine schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System. It was through this connection that a partnership between #thesavageway and West Charlotte High School began.
#thesavageway used their grant money to partner with the International Baccalaureate art program at West Charlotte. The original concept evolved from #thesavageway creating a positive message campaign to the students, as part of their curriculum and studies, creating the message for their own community.
Divided into two teams, and with guidance from #thesavageway, the students researched clean graffiti and created design and messaging campaigns that would eventually be judged by Savage and Bartlett. The winning design would be made into a stencil and cleaned in areas around West Charlotte High School, selected community locations, as well as each Project L.I.F.T. school (nine total schools).
On March 24, the groups presented their campaigns.
Judged on overall concept, creativity, concise messaging, and ability to be easily ‘cleaned’ into sidewalks, the winning concept was “We Rise by Lifting Others.”
Once selected #thesavageway and their partners created the stencil of the design, and on May 28, the students and #thesavageway gathered to “clean” the message onto the sidewalks at the various Project L.I.F.T. schools.
#thesavageway engaged and encouraged the students to think about ways to be creative and to be a positive influence within their community. Positivity is a message that deserves to be spread.
What are you doing to help spread positivity into your community?