The Department of Well-Being

Today I thought you might like to hear about other folks out there trying to build community and awareness in cities. The Department of Well-Being is one of those groups. I first heard about them at a conference on urban art and realized that I had seen their “Honk Less, Love More” signs around New York at some point.

The Department of Well Being takes a whimsical approach to promoting well-being by creating signs with ordinary Department of Transportation formatting and adding fun slogans. Tired by signs ordering “No Honking” at every turn in the city, the founders of the Department of Well Being wanted to make ordinary traffic signs a little more fun. Whose day wouldn’t be a bit brighter after seeing “You Look Pretty Today” in the Big Apple or “Love Up, Guns Down” in inner city Newark?

Though I don’t consider myself an artist, I appreciate the power of art in shaping public space and, in turn, the experience that one has in that space. From sculptures to traffic signs, art greatly forms my sense of place, wherever I am. It instills a sense of pride in that place’s unique identity.

What signs of life have you noticed in your city? What citizen groups are working to add a touch of whimsy to the ordinary? I encourage you to keep your eyes open for it this week and let me know what you find.

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