Envisioning a Brighter Future: A ColorCorps for America’s Cities

More than economic stimulus, more than Cash for Clunkers, what this country really needs is color!

I have this recurring dream, one that I have had ever since President Obama was elected. I am invited to the White House. As I wait for him, I am feeling both ecstatic and anxious. As he enters I stand at attention, salute him and say, “Mr. President, I am eagerly reporting for duty.” Thankfully, I am in full uniform and have been spared the pressure of what to wear. In order to shake his hand, I must put down my heavy weapon.

colorful building

Our time together is brief, but our exchange motivates me to press on. He tells me how much he appreciates my galvanizing the troops. I share with him pictures of the gleaming public schools, the patterned inner-city neighborhoods, and the pristine homes that we have affected. He is pleased that the new ColorCorps has so many volunteers and has already made a profound difference.

I speak of the willingness of the community to participate–their enthusiasm and sense of optimism when our missions are complete. He looks at me knowingly, understanding the hard work and progress made. Every scrape, brush, and roll is giving people respect.

Just like Alice Waters and Michelle Obama, who planted their gardens, we are sowing seeds of promise and new beginnings. As I pick up my weapon to leave, he smiles optimistically at the paint can, knowing that it holds far more than paint. At its essence, color contains change and hope, two words with which he is intimately familiar.


The neighborhoods are chanting “color…color…color.” It is time to mobilize the troops and we are actively recruiting.

What are some good examples you’ve seen of color enlivening a community?

[Image via Sturman]


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Laura Guido-Clark is an expert in the
skin of consumer products–their color, materials, and finish. This is
perhaps the area of industrial and textile design that requires the
greatest understanding of the human heart. Laura has spent her life
studying the always new and always surprising ways that human beings
react to the look and feel of any given product.

Laura is the rare color and finish
consultant whose expertise includes not just textiles but heavy
manufacturing industries such as automotive, electronics, and major
household appliances. This experience has given her vast knowledge of
the raw materials and processes used in product categories across the
board. Throughout her twenty-plus year career, Laura has analyzed the
conscious and unconscious influences that drive buying decisions. Her
ability to translate those influences into prescient forecasting and,
ultimately, into concrete applications of color and finish has helped
companies such as Samsung, Apple, Mattel, and Toyota design products
that resonate with consumers and succeed in competitive markets.