Venice hopes 'positivity walls' will build a better community

Outside the Sky Family YMCA in Venice, colorful tags hang from a lattice wall. Each carries a powerful message. 

"Say something nice to someone you do not know," Charlene Griffin-Jordan said, reading what she wrote.

That message now hangs next to others and forms a positivity wall. 

"In our particular timeframe, our period, we need something like that. I’m tired of being divided – this wall, that wall," she explained. 

Kathy Lehner, the president and CEO of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, got the idea from another chamber. 

"We are so bombarded with bad things happening that it takes a little bit more focus on looking for something good and positive,” said Lehner. 

The messages can be simple, straight from the heart, or a favorite quote. It's all up to the person holding the pen. 

"Change your thoughts, change the world. We need to make a change and a positive change," said Lehner, reading a tag. 

There are five positivity walls located throughout the city: 

  • Centennial Park, 200 E Venice Ave., Venice
  • Venice Beach pavilion, 101 The Esplanade, Venice
  • Sky Family YMCA, 701 Center Rd., Venice
  • Laurel Civic Center, 509 Collins Rd., Nokomis
  • Frances T.Bourne Jacaranda Public Library, 4141 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice

"All of our residents, whether they’re just here visiting or they live here permanently, can come out, share their thoughts of something positive," said Lehner. 

The city hopes the walls provide a simple outlet to stop, think, and help keep your head up. 

"If we will remain positive, that will only generate more positive and productive actions, community engagement and overall improvement of health and well-being," said Pete Shattuck with the Sky Family YMCA. 

The walls will stay up until mid-December. A second phase of the project will kick off afterwards. 

Tags will be sent to the Venice Art Center.  They'll work to come up with a public art project that depicts the positive messages. 

For more information, contact the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce at 941-488-2236
or email Mary Charland at