Artist installs Happy Street Signs in Newark, hopes to curb violence

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 15, 2014

Artist Killy Kilroy with Newark students putting up Happy Street Signs in Newark today.

 

NEWARK — From the flashing lights on broadway to the billboards on skyscrapers, city streets are plastered with advertising.

Now, a new anti-violence campaign hopes those same advertising techniques can also decrease crime in Newark.

"We are hoping what this does is influence people," Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said today at a press conference.

This morning, the city started putting up 150 signs on city street poles with positive messages, such as "Skip Drugs More Hugs" or "The Future is Ours."

The project, dubbed "Happy Street Signs" was the brainchild of British New York City based artist Killy Kilford.

Kilford worked with Newark students from Central High School, Arts High School, St. Benedict's High School, and Sojourn High School at the detention center to come up with up to 10 positive messages that were printed on the street signs.

About 150 signs are scheduled to be put up today, while community residents will put up another 50 during the police department's community walks. The signs were funded through a donation secured by Kilford, said city spokeswoman Sakina Cole.

Arts High School senior Cyionne DeFlorimonte,17, said he came up with the "Our City, Our Family" sign to encourage unity in the city.

"If you look at families they are all together," he said. "It should be like that around all of Newark."

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