Let’s Work Together


Brian Hawkins

Project Manager

Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins, a visual and performance artist, uses public art, gardens, light and sound to address issues of health, safety, crime and violence. His work has impacted Birmingham through artwork and humanitarianism. As a lifelong resident of Birmingham, Hawkins saw the city’s magic from an early age. “I grew up in a housing project in downtown Birmingham, but even with those challenges, the city seemed to have limitless potential,” Hawkins said. He attended Mississippi State University, majoring in civil engineering and began working in the field; however after a while he could not “shake the feeling” that he wasn’t doing anything of any importance. No one was being helped. This led him to begin working with Hands on Birmingham, Habitat for Humanity, Kaboom, and other local charities.  Today, Hawkins works primarily with the Norwood Resource Center and has aided projects such as the Norwood Market at the Trolley Stop Farmer’s Market, Norwood Learning Gardens, and programs that teach neighborhood youth how to grow and maintain a food garden. As a graduate of Ensley High School, Brian wanted to apply his training to a community in desperate need.  He created The Color Project Ensley, which is designed to take a creative approach to rejuvenating a blighted community.  It addresses blight, torn sidewalks, vacant buildings, and empty lots and provides opportunities to improve the mental and physical health of the residents of the Ensley community by merging visual, physical, and auditory components that allow for multiple points for collaboration between the Ensley community and all other partners involved. Brian was selected as a SEED presenter at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Health Intervention Research’s (CHEIR) SEED Symposium. CHEIR develops interventions and strategies that incorporate research, community collaboration and health equity approaches to improve the health of populations and communities most impacted by disparities.  He has been invited back to UMass as a consultant.