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Community Help is Looking to Replace an Iconic Park Slope Mural

The mural, which represented the women who live in the CHiPS shelter for mothers and young children, was washed away almost ten years ago.
Photo Courtesy of CHiPS GoFundMe

Community Help in Park Slope, Inc. is looking for artist to replace their once-iconic, now washed out mural in Gowanus, reports The Brooklyn Paper.

For decades, a three-story high mural on the on the side of the building at 200 4th Ave became a neighborhood symbol. Designed in 2004 by a group of women artists, led by artist Katie Yamasaki, the mural shows seven women on their balconies. Each subject is involved in a different task— braiding a girl’s hair, stretching, painting and taking care of a baby — all in an effort to represent the women who live in the building, a shelter for single mothers and their infants run by Community Help in Park Slope (CHiPS).

“Although too often women encounter many obstacles in their paths to success, the mural sends a clear message to young women in the community that through study, the arts, community support, and sheer dedication, they can fulfill their dreams,” reads the artist’s website. “And through a commitment to themselves and their community, women can far exceed their own expectations, just as the participants in this project did.”

Sadly on October 2012 the mural was washed away by Superstorm Sandy. But, as the ten-year anniversary of the storm approaches, the organization is looking for funding and for the artist to fill the gap.

“We know that it’s truly missed,” Branch said. “We get questions and comments all the time about putting something back in its spot. And this time we’re looking for this mural to encompass the whole entirety of CHiPS.”

The organization is inviting artists to show their portfolio and come up with a proposal on a vision for the space. Arts Gowanus, a non-profit that promotes art and artists in Brooklyn, is helping with the project. A GoFundMe page has been set up by the organization to raise over $1,000 in donations, out of a larger $10,000 goal.

“We want to pay a team of artists to imagine and paint a new one,” wrote ArtsGowanus executive director Johnny Thornton on the fundraising page. “We’ll be releasing an open call for proposals once we’ve funded the project.”

With a staff of less than 20 people, CHiPS relies entirely on charitable donations and government grants. The organization bought the 4th Avenue building in the 90s and while the building is currently closed for renovations, it is set to reopen on September 6.


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