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Decorating with a splash of local color.

WHEN SHERMAE RESMENTIAL purchased Tribeca, a 398-unit mid-rise in Plano, Texas, last September, the Chicago-based company didn't want generic artwork gracing its halls. Instead, it left the decorating up to local art students.

As part of The Tribeca Project, Sherman Residential donated a 6-foot-by-4foot blank canvas and a $50 gift card for art supplies to each school in the Frisco Independent School District (FISD) with an art program. Every completed canvas returned to Tribeca would be put on permanent display in the mid-rise's common area.

Debbie Cooper, Senior Property Manager for Tribeca, says the goal of the project was to give back to the community-part of Sherman Residential's core values. "Fine arts are getting left behind with budget cuts and we saw the opportunity to change that," Cooper says. "Tribeca was going to spend nearly $10,000 anyway if we purchased outside art, so why not allow students to provide the artwork and give the money to the schools instead?"

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Created in partnership with Dr. Daryl Trent, Director of Fine Arts for FISD, The Tribeca Project gave the schools freedom to do whatever they wanted.

"We had everything from a group of elementary school students working together on a canvas to an exceptional high school artist who was picked by her teacher to paint the entire thing herself," Cooper says. "There were no specific requirements-we just left it up to the teachers."

After Cooper collected the finished pieces, Tribeca hosted a reception and gallery event in late April to showcase the artwork. The event was advertised on several local event calendars-including one on the Dallas Morning News website and proved to be great publicity for the community. More than 500 local residents, students, teachers and parents were in attendance, many of whom toured Tribeca for the first time.

Reception guests followed a route throughout Tribeca's long corridors to view the canvases, each of which included a plaque with the name of the school and the artwork. First-, second-and third-place prizes were awarded at the elementary, middle and high school levels, with a final award given for "Best in Show.

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The reception also included a performance from a local high school orchestra ensemble, refreshments and gift bags full of art supplies for the younger children.

Cooper says many visitors were so impressed with the artwork that they asked how much the paintings cost and wanted to buy them. "The entire evening was a huge win for these students, who were thrilled with the positive response they received from guests," she says. "Plus, Grandma or Grandpa can come to Tribeca years from now, and their granddaughter's painting will still be on the wall."

In addition to the art supplies and canvases, Sherman Residential also donated $10,000 toward a Fine Arts Scholarship through the Frisco Education Foundation to help high school seniors who wish to pursue a college degree in one of the fine arts.

--NAA's Lauren Boston
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Title Annotation:Common Areas
Author:Boston, Lauren
Publication:Units
Date:Jul 1, 2011
Words:490
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