Usually, the phrase "street artist" conjures up the idea of some crust-punk with paint cans scrawling graffiti or a Wynwood hipster painting a wall. But Robin Merrill outdoes them all. A woman who defies stereotypes (she's a Christian missionary with a wicked sense of humor, a white lady who hangs with Seminole and Miccosukee Indians), she's always thinking up projects to improve the world. At her brick-and-mortar shop, the Upper Room Art Gallery, she sells fair-trade gifts and paintings. In 2013, she won a Knight Foundation grant to keep alive the tradition of cypress canoe carving. And this May, she took action to combat one of her pet peeves: dangerous intersections. The City of Fort Lauderdale won an "Art of Community" grant from the Community Foundation of Broward for their "Connecting the Blocks" project and Merrill was hired to paint her design at crosswalks along Breakers Avenue in bright, eye-catching colors and geometric designs. The project works as a beautifying measure but doubles as a traffic calmer, since people slow down to check out the works. A third effect is that the patterns evoke the underground aquifers that nourish us and our land. Genius!

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