Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

Spreading Community Love Through Street Art

Some people celebrate their birthday with good food, great friends, and a tremendous amount of attention directed on themselves. (Full disclosure: my birthday is imminent and that is EXACTLY how I plan on spending it!)

But two local sisters Molly De Marco and Allison De Marco decided to spend their shared 39th birthday with good food, great friends, and a tremendous amount of  attention focused... on the community they deeply love.

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As well respected and community-minded advocates, Molly and Allison are Orange County’s version of social justice heroes. (And full disclosure – I count them among my best friends.)  So it seems fitting that they used the occasion of their birthday to focus love, not on themselves, but on their community…with some fun and anonymous street art!

 Molly and Allison gathered friends at their house on a Sunday afternoon in late June then quickly turned them back out on the streets of Carrboro and Chapel Hill – with instructions and an assortment of supplies. Things like small love tags, mustache stickers, spray paint chalk, rocks, signs encouraging walking, Legos, books, and much more.

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I had the pleasure of hitting downtown and Franklin Street with Allison and another friend Sarah. At  Umstead Park we left a rubber ball, written on it “Community Ball” left for all to enjoy. In a raised-brick planter on West Franklin Street we created a small Zen garden with sand, rocks, a temple and rake. Sprinkled in nooks and broken brick corners up and down Franklin Street we Lego bombed! Written in chalk on a campus path we wrote, “In my life I want to…” leaving space for others to share their dreams.  And on and on… we spread a little light-hearted cheer and love.

Others installed witch legs in alleys (with Duke blue stockings!), googly eye  & mustache- bombed just about everything that didn't move, performed random acts of kindness for strangers, left “I Heart Your…” notes on bikes, filled the Downtown Free Libraries with books, and so much more. Afterwards we gathered back at their house to eat and see photos and share stories of what everyone had done.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, these pictures of infectious community love are worth a gazillion. In them you may recognize some other very civic-minded folks spreading community love!

Click Here for Photos!

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Now almost four weeks later, much of the street art is gone. Some removed by time or weather; and perhaps some removed by strangers eager to have a piece of street art for themselves.

And that’s just fine – because street art is meant to be temporary. Its appeal is that it quickly evokes  a little smile, a bit of curiosity, and certainly a new sense of love for a community that inspires others to create art.

Thank you to Molly and Allison, and all of their friends & family members, for your anonymous street art skills!  

Although the street art may have been temporary; the love shared that day for our community is permanent. 


Art, FunCHDP