Beauty Can Save The World

Did you know that a little bit of paint, some fantastic creativity, and community investment can transform roads and make them safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers?  

Well, the Asphalt Art Initiative has done just that in cities across the U.S. 

The Asphalt Art Initiative was created in 2020 by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Within its first year,  it helped cover “nearly 86,500 square feet of streets with artwork in 16 [U.S.] cities,” according to a news release by the City of East Providence, Rhode Island. It’s since expanded its grant program, and has now supported a total of 64 art projects in U.S. and European cities.

So, what is the Asphalt Art Initiative?  It's best to simply show some examples: 

How does a mural on the pavement affect traffic safety?  That's an excellent question, and it has a data-driven answer.  

The Asphalt Art Initiative recently published a study it commissioned to determine the difference in crashes and accidents before the murals were put in place and after they were installed.  Here's what they discovered: 

In April of 2022, the organization published research demonstrating just how much of an impact the colorful transformations have had. Data showed that implementing asphalt art projects led to a 50% decrease in the rate of crashes involving pedestrians or other vulnerable road users, a 37% decrease in the rate of crashes leading to injuries, and a 17% decrease in the overall crash rate. 

The study showed that because drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists slowed down to view the beauty of the murals, they became more aware of their surroundings and the people around them.  

There's a lesson in this story for all of us, and it has to do with our ability or inability to be aware of truth, beauty, and goodness in the world. 

It also speaks to the importance of creativity and how when we use our God-given gifts to share truth, beauty, and goodness, we bring the kingdom of God nearer, and God's shalom is more evident to everyone. 

Each of us can act like those beautiful murals at the intersections of our lives. If we embrace our calling as God's shalom ambassadors, we can be bridges of peace, love, hope, and joy to the world. 

What can you do today to bring truth, beauty, and goodness to the world around you? It could be as simple as a kind word to a stranger or an act of kindness, or you could try to beautify the world in any way you can. 

For some of us, planting flowers and making our yard a beautiful oasis can show our neighbors that we are committed to a better world. 

For others, it might mean speaking the truth in love about the hard things happening around us and finding ways to claim common ground with people we disagree with.  

May we all find those intersections to beautify our lives today and every day from this day. May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever. Amen.  


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