Brownsville receives grant for public art mural along Pitkin Avenue

July 25, 2013 Editorial Staff
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Brownsville will welcome “Transform/Restore: Brownsville,” a community-wide mural project, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

This project, beginning in September, 2013, will be led by Groundswell, the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), and the Brownsville Community Justice Center. The goal of the public art project is to convert the current vandalism that lines Pitkin Avenue into murals, bringing youth, local businessowners, and neighbors together in creating something that visibly represents a beautiful aspect of Brownsville.

Groundswell, a non-profit organization committed to improving the community through public art, will team up with selected individuals from the NYC Department of Probation to interview members of the community and decide what defines Brownsville and what sets it apart from other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The findings will then be transformed into murals.

The newfound painters will be up to 40 young adults who are currently on probation. They will create a large-scale public art mural at 1550 Pitkin Avenue, based on Groundswell’s research.

“Thanks to this generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, we will be able to build upon our already strong relationship with Groundswell and the Pitkin Avenue BID to make visible and permanent change in Brownsville, not just on the walls of Pitkin Avenue but also in the hearts and minds of people on probation,” stated NYC Department of Probation Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi.

The project really hits home, because studies show that in Brownsville one in 12 men between the ages of 16 to 24 are imprisoned.

Pitkin Avenue BID Executive Director Daniel Murphy stated that “having young people from our community take the lead on these transformative art projects will further our shared vision to create more beautiful, livable streets in the heart of Brownsville, a place that our residents can be truly proud of.”

According to Groundswell, youth artists have completed the research and design phase, and will begin fabrication in late July, unveiling the finished piece at the end of August. The goal of this mural is to highlight community assets in Brownsville, promote a vision of shared streets, and support the economic revitalization of historic Pitkin Avenue.

The awarded grant is just one of the 59 grants that NEA has announced as part of its Our Town initiative, totaling $4.725 million.

This year’s grantees were selected from 254 applicants.


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