The Arts Council for Long Beach is seeking local artists to submit ideas for a paid street mural project designed to improve safety at a busy intersection in the Washington neighborhood.

The project, called Community Corners, will select four artists to paint one mural on each corner of the four-way intersection at 15th Street and Chestnut Avenue, an area that is frequently traveled by youth going to and from nearby Washington Middle School, Seaside Park and Long Beach Day Nursery.

Data collected by the Department of Public Works in collaboration with the Arts Council shows most drivers (85%) drive over the posted speed limit of 25 mph on both Chestnut Avenue and 15th Street, particularly on the downhill slope on Chestnut approaching the intersection. And while the data shows that most drivers do approach the intersection slowly, less than half of drivers (29% when a pedestrian isn’t present; 40% when a pedestrian is present) come to a complete stop.

To help improve pedestrian and traffic safety, murals will be painted on the curved corners of the intersection to expand pedestrian space while crossing. In addition, curb extensions (also known as bulb-outs) will be installed and red zones—where parking is illegal but which often impact visibility and inadvertently encourage drivers to encroach the crosswalk—will also be removed. Combined, the effect will reduce crossing length, better alert drivers of the intersection’s four-way stop and brighten the area with local art.

The green areas show where the murals will be painted at the intersection of 15th Street and Chestnut Avenue. Image courtesy the Arts Council for Long Beach.

Artists have until Feb. 15 to submit their design proposals to the Arts Council. The theme of the project is “Fearless Love, Fearless Dreams” celebrating the resiliency and diversity of youth who use the crosswalk every day, said Cynthia Luján, the Art Council’s Director of Public Art. The designs should also be uplifting, inspirational and appealing to children.

With their submissions, artists should also include three artworks demonstrating their artistic style, a title of the proposed mural, a description of the art proposal explaining the vision and meaning and their connection to Long Beach or the Washington community.

Ten semifinalists will be paid $250 for their art proposals, and the winning four will receive $5,000 each for their work, including installation in May. Semifinalists should also expect to collaborate with the Arts Council to incorporate artistic elements proposed by Washington community members into their work.

This artists’ call is the culmination of over a year of conversations, community gatherings, data collection and collaboration with the Arts Council and the Washington community, including the Long Beach Day Nursery, Books and Buckets and the Washington Neighborhood Association, which is one of the leading organizations advocating for the Washington area’s interests and safety. Other collaborative partnerships include Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles and Go Active LB.

Community Corners is funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative, JAG Foundation, and the Southern California Association of Governments, of whom the Arts Council is a recipient of its “GoHuman” grants project.

After the murals have been installed, the Arts Council will be hosting a celebratory event. Dates for the event are to be determined. Click here for more information about Community Corners and to apply.