Poster-sized children’s drawings of houses, people, princesses and at least one tree will be hanging on the second level of River Park Square for the next three weeks.
They are the creative result of a drawing contest put on by Spokane’s community development department and fair housing committee.
“We are doing it to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act,” said Kristine Williams, a planner with the community development department.
Williams was gingerly placing painter’s tape on the back of the posters Thursday as she and Kim McCollim, of the local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, were orchestrating helpers hanging the exhibit.
“The judges are going to walk through here on their own time between now and Thursday,” Williams said. “Then we’ll announce the winners on Friday.”
Nine winners from kindergarten to sixth grade will be invited to the City Council meeting April 14, where the 2008 Fair Housing Proclamation will be read.
“Housing has been more at the forefront of people’s minds this past year, because of all the developments downtown,” Williams said.
The theme of the contest is “Opening Doors to Equality.”
The contest was open to children in community development grant-funded programs at the Northeast, Peaceful Valley and West Central community centers, the Boys & Girls Club of Spokane County, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
In preparation for the contest, HUD staff visited with children at all the sites and talked to them about how to make new neighbors feel welcome, how people with disabilities and people of different cultural backgrounds can live together, and what having a home means to them.
“It was great to see that the kids have a wonderful understanding of discrimination already,” McCollim said.
“They knew about service animals and disabilities, and some knew of Dr. Martin Luther King and his work for equality.”
The winning images may be turned into posters that will hang in local housing agencies, and they will be displayed at the Fair Housing Conference on April 25 at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute.
“I think it’s really touching what the kids came up with,” Williams said. “Even for us adults. There’s a lot of thought put into these posters.”