Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Artwork Transforms an Indiana Community

MIBOR REALTOR® Association’s butterfly placemaking project activates alleys and downtown in Lebanon, Indiana.

The City of Lebanon, Indiana, is in the midst of growth and change. With the help of a $1,500 Placemaking Grant from the National Association of REALTORS®, the MIBOR REALTOR® Association and the Heart of Lebanon Main Street organization used color as a catalyst for growth and change in areas of art, culture and inclusivity in their community. Elements of color were injected into the downtown area through the celebration of the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Butterfly-themed art elements are on display throughout Downtown Lebanon until October 2022. These pops of color include temporary murals, larger-than-life butterflies, miscellaneous structures in pedestrian alleys turned into temporary caterpillars, colorful steel butterfly benches, butterfly sculptures, and lanterns that project a colony of colorful butterflies along buildings and sidewalks at night.

Window at a shop in Lebanon, Indiana featuring a yellow butterfly artwork

Photo courtesy of MIBOR REALTOR® Association

Well received by the community, the temporary placemaking project has not only helped the community see the transformation the city is undergoing and embrace the beauty of change but has also been a catalyst for more art downtown.

Red butterfly artwork at a square in Lebanon, Indiana

Photo courtesy of MIBOR REALTOR® Association

The Catalyst for Change project sparked the need for increased investment and discussion about including arts in the City of Lebanon. When the temporary placemaking project was put in place, many community members expressed feelings of pride and joy for the new assets in their downtown and only wished they could be a permanent fixture. This sense of pride and acknowledgment of how change can be beautiful was exactly the response all partner organizations had hoped to invoke in the community. The temporary project also spurred more conversations with the local economic development commission, as well as with city officials. These temporary art pieces helped them to acknowledge that further exploration of adding colorful murals and other assets to downtown will not hinder its historic value but add to it.

A plant vase featuring a green butterfly artwork with a purple mural in the background - Lebanon, Indiana.

Photo courtesy of MIBOR REALTOR® Association

The Catalyst for Change project celebrates what is on the horizon for the City of Lebanon while invoking a sense of pride in the local community.

Mural artwork in Lebanon, Indiana featuring a butterfly

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of MIBOR REALTOR® Association


Community Outreach Programs

Housing Opportunity Grant
Housing Opportunity Grants support state and local REALTOR® Associations’ affordable housing activities. The goal of the program is to position REALTORS® as leaders in improving their communities by creating affordable housing

Smart Growth Grant
Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The Smart Growth Program offers state and local REALTOR® Associations to way to engage with government officials, community partners and the general public in planning and designing community’s future.

Planned diversity initiatives makes good business sense. REALTOR® Associations with well-planned diversity programs create a stronger sense of community, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreign-born and minority residents who are moving up the socioeconomic ladder and are buying homes.

NAR Placemaking Resources

Placemaking Guide: A Guide to Transform a Public Space into a Community Place
REALTORS® and state and local association staff can learn the details of Placemaking, the kinds of projects placemaking entails, how to organize them, and where to go for assistance and resources.

Placemaking Webinar Series
Our Placemaking Webinar Series will provide more in depth information on the various types of Placemaking and how REALTORS® were involved in Placemaking activities in their communities.

Placemaking Grant
The Placemaking Grant funds the creation of new public spaces, like pocket parks, trails & gardens, in a community. The grant focuses on “lighter, cheaper, quicker” placemaking projects, which can be built under a year and cost less  than $200,000.

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Smart Growth

The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task.