A new mural that was designed and created by local youth was recently unveiled at the Marcus Garvey Apartments in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Depicted on the 13-foot-tall mural, titled We Are, I Am, is a crowd holding up signs that proclaim “We are Brownsville,” a young woman passionately speaking into a megaphone, as well as a man holding a long planted vine in the palm of his hands.
Tasked with creating the community-centric mural were numerous Brownsville youth, led by Groundwell NYC artists Yolande Delius and Eric Miles.
Groundwell, an arts organization based out of Brooklyn, made the decision to create the public art piece after receiving a state grant for the purpose of producing a community-driven art project that would “galvanize and beautify” the neighborhood of Brownsville.
During the planning process, the Marcus Garvey Apartments — which were developed by real estate firm, L+M Development Partners — would ultimately be selected as the ideal home for the eye-catching work of art.
“At L+M Development Partners, we strive to create environments that represent and empower the neighborhoods we are a part of,” said Gingi Pica, Senior Director of Community Investment at L+M Development Partners.
“This mural not only beautifies the Marcus Garvey Apartments but also serves as a representation of the community by encouraging local youth to be creative and use art as a medium to reflect on their experiences and resiliency.”
The Brownsville Community Justice Center (BCJC), a nonprofit that aims to prevent crime by investing in local youth, teamed up with Groundwell for the project.
BCJC recommended several young people from its various programs to help aid Groundwell in the creation of the mural.
Prior to constructing the mural, the group of Brooklyn-based youth participated in workshops that taught them about the history of public art, garnered feedback from Brownsville neighborhood residents, as well as identified social issues that affect them and the community at-large.
“For over 25 years, Groundswell has worked across New York City, bringing together youth, creatives, and local organizations to use art as a tool for social change,” said Casey Angelo, Associate Director of Programs of Groundswell. “The mural reflects many of the expressed values of both Groundswell and BCJC including investment in youth, community cohesion, and neighborhood stewardship.”