New mural chronicles history, predicts future of Greenpoint
by Andrew Shilling
May 16, 2014 | 777 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Stephen Levin, Kevin Thompson and Assemblyman Joe Lentol join the students and artists with Groundswell.
Councilman Stephen Levin, Kevin Thompson and Assemblyman Joe Lentol join the students and artists with Groundswell.
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Groundswell program director Patrick Dougher at the unveiling.
Groundswell program director Patrick Dougher at the unveiling.
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Broadway Stages president Gina Argento at the unveiling.
Broadway Stages president Gina Argento at the unveiling.
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Greenpoint now has a new welcoming insignia just across the John Jay Byrne Bridge.

“Stages of Greenpoint,” a 12 foot-by-16 foot mural plastered on the Greenpoint Avenue side of Broadway Stages film studio, depicts the neighborhood’s rich immigrant history and future in television and movies.

Students from schools across the city worked since last October designing the mural with Groundswell, an afterschool art education program. They took field trips to different parts of the neighborhood, participated in mural-making workshops, and researched the history of Greenpoint.

“I’m glad I got to do this for the community, “ said 17-year-old Brooklyn High School of the Arts student Safiyyah Wilkerson. “I want people to know there’s a place for everyone and everything in our mural of Greenpoint.”

Esteban del Valle has painted several murals across the city as a lead artist with Groundswell, and said he is always most impressed by the way students that enroll in the program grow and embrace the projects.

“It’s amazing how much Greenpoint has evolved,” del Valle said. “Creating the mural has been a way for us to learn about the immigrant families who first settled here, but also embrace the new people who are coming in, the exciting evolution of Greenpoint’s restaurants and its role in the film industry.”

Groundswell has previously worked with students to install the murals “Kaleidoscopic Dream” at Brooklyn Navy Yard, “The Game of Not Playing,” with the GED Plus Regional High School in the Bronx, and “Respect the Work” with the Domestic Workers United and Jews for Racial Economic Justice.

Following the weekly afterschool meetings throughout the school year with Groundswell’s Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship (TEMA), the teen artists finally unveiled their project last week with the help of some local elected officials and Broadway Stages representatives.

“Painting this mural has been such an exciting journey for our students,” said Groundswell executive director Amy Sananman. “They went to every nook and cranny of Greenpoint to put it together, from the shelter pavilion at McGolrick Park to St. Anthony’s Church on Manhattan Avenue.”

“We’re honored that these students chose to build their gorgeous mural at Broadway Stages,” said Broadway Stages president Gina Argento. “They have put so much hard work into recreating, even re-imagining, our entire neighborhood.”
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