LAKELAND, FL, January 28, 2022 — Sidewalks in Parker Street and North Lake Wire parks were the latest blank canvases for local artist, Bump Galletta, who painted colorful and engaging activity murals on existing sidewalks to promote exercise and healthy behaviors in children. Galletta’s artwork in the parks ranges from a colorful, curling snake to an obstacle course that zigs and zags.
Parker Street Ministries (PSM), a Gospel-centered community development nonprofit that runs an after-school Academic Enrichment Program for kids in the Parker Street neighborhood, facilitated this project and commissioned Galletta through its Impact Polk grant funding from the George W. Jenkins Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation.
“Obesity, early childhood development, mental wellbeing, and healthy bodies have been identified as critical areas for improvement,” says Tim Mitchell, Executive Director at PSM. “The needs created by these issues have only grown during the pandemic.”
The sidewalk murals also encourage early childhood development in number, letter, and shape recognition, gross motor skills, balance, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
In addition to exercising and practicing their ABCs and numbers, Galletta says he hopes the project will renew a love for being together outdoors. “I feel like kids today don’t have a lot of interaction and social activity, so I’m hoping this will encourage kids to play around with each other out here. Maybe there will be a draw to bring the community back out to the park.”
An exciting bonus to an already thrilling endeavor is the project’s collaborative spirit. PSM had the opportunity to work with the City of Lakeland’s Parks and Recreation and Community & Economic Development | Neighborhood Outreach departments, North Lake Wire Neighborhood Association, and so many others to make this dream a reality.
A ribbon-cutting to officially unveil the sidewalks in Parker Street Park located behind PSM (719 N Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801) is scheduled for Wednesday, February 16, at 9 a.m.