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  • Blount Street Corridor Broader Impact + Process

    Blount Street Perspective 2

    Shaw University, an anchor institution integral to downtown’s economic fabric, is frequently called upon to support multiple community needs. Occupying a unique and influential place in Raleigh’s history, the University recognizes that it is inextricably bound to the communities that surround its campus. The Blount Street Mural Project will serve as a visual reminder of the University’s commitment to increasing shared value with its interdependent neighbors. Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter states, “Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success.” By collaboratively working with key stakeholders in the public, private and not-for-profit sector to make downtown more attractive, the Blount Street Mural Project will yield great economic and social impact and, in the process, spur the transformation of South Park.

    In a study titled, “Economic Impact of Non-Profit Arts Culture Organizations and their Audiences”, Americans for the Arts highlighted the far-reaching impact of public arts that extend beyond beautification, inspiration and creativity. The study states that , "Communities that draw cultural tourists experience an additional boost of economic activity. Tourism industry research has repeatedly demonstrated that arts tourists stay longer and spend more than the average traveler."  

    Raleigh Mayor, Nancy McFarlane, was quoted as saying, "The arts are also an important educational force in our community. Every year thousands of school children learn teamwork and critical thinking while experiencing the joy of creativity thanks to our arts community."

    Shaw University recognizes the synergy between the arts and education. The rich history of Raleigh and the role Shaw University and surrounding communities have played in shaping the academic, cultural, and artistic tapestry of the Capital City will be the focal point of the mural, and will not only afford an opportunity for teaching students throughout North Carolina, but the national and international academic audience will benefit as well. The positive impact of the mural will not stop once the paint is dry; but will prompt continued improvement of Shaw University’s campus edges, encourage visitors to develop a deeper understanding of Shaw and the South Park neighborhood, and further strengthen the connection between the neighborhood and the broader Downtown community. Studies have shown that when the aesthetic appeal of an area is positively changed, people have an increased desire to take greater ownership. Furthermore, the Blount Street Mural Project is directly aligned with the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for the City of Raleigh which outlines the need to create a neighborhood focal point and economic development opportunity for the South Park area.