Neighbors unite behind Elliot Street block party

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BRATTLEBORO — For Nanci Bern, block parties — like the one on Elliot Street on Sunday — are meant to get the community involved and show support for one another.

"It's an interesting, diverse neighborhood," she said. "Our commitment is to our home and everybody being there for each other."

Bern is part of the Frost Elm Elliot Triangle group of neighbors known as FEET. They organized Sunday's block party, which also served as an opportunity to finish a mural on a wall on Elliot Street.

While activities and food were offered at Lynch Park, a mixed-age group was busy painting. The mural includes three themes: gratitude, community and vision.

Kate Richardson said the wall was primed last summer and this year, the group assessed its resources and decided the mural could be painted. Those involved in making the mural met, talked about what they wanted and decided on strong symmetry, said Richardson, who drew the initial lines then helped paint.

Bern looked at the art as a way for people to get a sense of "making place." For Richardson, it was about communal ownership.

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"It's so fun to see the young people come out," said Bern.

She moved here from New York City in the early 2000s.

"It's like, Wow, people really go inward in the winter," she said, adding that it is easy to isolate during the winter.

But she believes the mural will remind her neighbors that they are connected with their community even if they don't see each other often. She also hopes to promote the idea of neighborhood groups becoming a norm.

"That's really how you change things," said Robyn Flatley, who was helping paint the mural.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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