Tisha Crear remembers driving around with an architect friend in recent years and asking what he saw in her neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas.
“I see blight,” he responded.
Crear’s next project? Reflecting the freshness and abundance that she sees to others.
For most of this past year, though, she only had the bandwidth to think about internal operations and paying the bills.
“Now it's like we can make it to start to think about things beyond just the survival mode.”
This fall, Crear wants to turn the exterior of Recipe Oak Cliff into a beacon of bounty, complete with outdoor lighting, splashes of color evoking a fruit basket, and planters filled with herbs and edible flowers.
She’s driven in part by a desire to enable outdoor dining while COVID-19 remains an acute threat. But she also wants passersby to see what community investment could look like.
“We know how healing art is, you know, how a mural can change a neighborhood. How green space or a fruit tree or a pecan tree can change the dynamic in the neighborhood.”
Growing up in South Dallas, Crear remembers a colorful landscape of pink, blue, and yellow homes. Now, driving around parts of Oak Cliff, she’s noticed a more monogamous approach to the new luxury apartment buildings popping up, a certain boxy look and muted colors signaling that “it's hip, it’s urban, it's developed, it’s modern, it's contemporary.”
In the face of rapid gentrification, Crear wants her community to “let the culture and the history of the people and of the land dictate the aesthetic.”
This story is part of a series following small business owners through the pandemic. To view all stories part of NBC Local’s “Rebound” project, click here.