Keep Gastonia Beautiful Program Receives National Innovation Award

(L-R) Julie Heath, Juliann Lehman, Jennifer Lawson - President/CEO KAB
Juliann Lehman (center), Keep Gastonia Beautiful Administrator and Julie Heath (left), Keep Gastonia Beautiful Special Projects Coordinator, receive the Keep America Beautiful Innovation Award from Jennifer Lawson, Keep America Beautiful President & CEO (right).

The City of Gastonia’s Keep Gastonia Beautiful program received an Innovation Award from Keep America Beautiful at its national conference in Washington, D.C. on February 22. Gastonia’s program is one of nine awards recognized this year. The project is intended to creatively educate the community about the importance of bees and pollinators through public art.

“To have this project recognized on a national level by Keep America Beautiful was such an honor. We are excited to share why Gastonia is such a “Great Place to Bee” with citizens and visitors to our downtown,” said Juliann Lehman, Keep Gastonia Beautiful Administrator. “Being able to combine art and recycling into the project really allowed us to showcase our mission in a meaningful way.”

What is Gastonia’s Keep Gastonia Beautiful Innovation Award?
Featuring the theme, “Great Place to Bee”, the City’s Keep Gastonia Beautiful staff was motivated to create unique ways to highlight its Bee City USA affiliation by infusing its downtown with public art and place making through a large mosaic art piece and smaller metal bees that waggle through downtown. The project features a 20-foot tall mosaic piece titled “Serenity” created by a local artist using recycled glass funded by The Carrie E. and Lena V. Glenn Foundation. Powder coated/metal bees “waggle” through downtown as part of a place making downtown adventure. At each stop, the bee featured provides a fact about bees or the building featured corresponds to an architectural element featured in the mosaic column design and will highlight the building’s historical significance. This project, titled “Great Place to Bee” has the potential to create a buzz of excitement and interest throughout downtown.

The Keep America Beautiful Innovation Award salutes affiliates that have created innovative partnerships and programs to further the mission of Keep America Beautiful. The Innovation Awards are intended to honor true innovation. These are unique ideas or methods and/or creative or non-traditional  approaches to solving challenges. The Innovation Awards recognize new approaches that help facilitate growth within an organization. An innovative partnership or program may be original in concept or may be the development of novel and different methods of established partnerships or programs.