Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Painted purple in Charles Village

Tara Tosti was one of 13 winners in this year’s Painted Ladies of Charles Village House Painting Contest. Sponsored by the Charles Village Community Foundation, the contest is open to residents, landlords, and business owners who embellish their properties in the famous Painted Ladies tradition – with three or more typically vibrant colors.


GHCC supported the contest by securing Healthy Neighborhoods grant funding to help cover the cost of paint and supplies for contestants living on target blocks. “GHCC really stepped in at the perfect moment,” says Tara. “I had literally commented to my mother that the exterior of the house needed to be repainted and later that night Hannah Gardi (GHCC’s MSW Intern) stopped by and told us about the grant! I had no idea there were grants like that available and was really grateful she helped us get one to paint the exterior. Without that money, I would have still painted, but I wouldn’t have gotten as involved in doing all the colors or painting the more hard to reach areas. The grant freed us up to think creatively and not just how to get it done in the most inexpensive way.”


As you can see in the picture above, Tara’s house was mostly brown with a bit of grey and red before she dramatically transformed it with purple, pink, and blue. Aside from these fantastic results of her painting, Tara really enjoyed that the contest gave her an opportunity to connect with neighbors.

“There were at least four houses on the block that participated, so we were all outside every weekend. If one of us needed something, the others tried to help, and we all helped choose colors and color placement. The project gave a topic of interest everyone shared, so some neighbors that I had only had the opportunity to say ‘Hi’ to before I was able to learn more about and chat with. When everyone is outside working towards a common goal, it seems to really put everyone in a good mood and want to talk.”

What’s more, Tara is now inspired to become more involved in strengthening her block. She says, “I have always wanted to do more but felt others may not have. But now I know there is a desire by many on the block to make it look nicer.”