Brooklyn Community Foundation: Flowers, Wall Art & History
There’s a line in Amy Sohn’s new book Motherland about Park Slope purporting to be a community but it not being a community at all.
I think you have to look for community to find it sometimes.
I thought of that when I received a very exciting press release from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, reporting on some exciting community events that popped up this summer all over the borough.
This is the group that helped announce the winners of the 2012 Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest, a gardening competition organized by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This year’s big winner: Lincoln Place between Bedford and Rogers Avenue (I just drove by there yesterday and saw the big green Greenest Block sign). There were many more winners, including Eighth Street between Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West, the Cortelyou Road Merchants Association and Newkirk Plaza. You can read about them here.
The Brooklyn Community Fund is also responsible for funding Groundswell, a group that brings exciting wall art to the exterior walls of apartment buildings, schools, gas stations, and even at the Navy Yard.
Working with community partners at the Brownsville Community Justice Center, BCF helped sponsor a team of young men to create a mural dedicated to role models and the male identity, on a wall overlooking a new community garden.
Many of Groundswell’s participants are court involved youth fulfilling their community service requirement through the organization. As part of their research in the design process, the team went to the Brooklyn Museum to view the Question Bridge: Black Males exhibit.
Another bright spot is the I Heart East New York project where young artists—many attending Aspirations Diploma Plus High School—are developing a mural on a NYC Parks wall opposite the Broadway Junction subway station.
The project’s theme: “We Believe in and Heart East New York,” conjured the neighborhood’s past and not yet realized potential. The wall’s design depicts the history of East New York.
There was also activity at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where artists are creating murals to illustrate the complete history of the yard, from its original Native American inhabitants, as a holder of prison ships during the Revolutionary War and as a Naval shipyard employing over 70,000 during WWII, to its modern rebirth as a sustainable small business park.