Monday, October 7, 2013

Better than Ever: Coney Island's Resilience Mural

Recently I spoke to Jeremy del Rio who co-founded and directs 20/20 Vision for Schools, a movement to transform public education that launched in New York City in 2008. His organization services under-resourced communities by affecting them in a positive and lasting way. Since the summer 20/20 Vision for Schools has been collaborating with GCA's own Sam Wisneski and the local community. Together they are creating a large-scale mural at a public school in Coney Island hard hit by hurricane Sandy.  PS329, also known as "The Surfside School," sustained approximately $1 million in damages during the storm. The mural is part of the community's post-Sandy recovery efforts.

Water Street Atelier Alumni and GCA instructor Sam Wisneski directs volunteers.

First, the wall is prepped before drawing and painting takes place.

Volunteers transfer Sam's drawing using a grid.

Close up of grid transfer.
The Process:
In May students were asked to submit design ideas on the question "How do you help a neighborhood in need." Faculty and parents read the submissions and identified themes that emerged. As artistic director, Sam Wisneski used these to create a composite design. With the assistance of hundreds of volunteers including students and parents, the design was transferred to the wall using a grid. Next, the base-coat of color was added. 

Jeremy, expressing admiration in Sam's stylistic range said "Although they (murals) are departures from his realistic work, his classical training gave him a perspective on how to scale a project like this which in hindsight was how to handle a project this size."

Skilled Artists Needed to Volunteer

Skilled artists are very much needed right now during the final stages of the mural. Artists will be asked to supervise and coach non-skilled volunteers along the way,  and to help with the finishing work on the finer parts of the mural that require a higher level of competence such as facial features and shading.

When to go? Anytime Monday through Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 - 5 p.m through October 19th. Skilled artists are encouraged to show up ready to paint.

Take the D, F, N, or Q to Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue and then either walk about 15 minutes down Mermaid Avenue or hop on Bus 74 until you get to West 30th Street and take a Left.  Before/after go for a walk on the Boardwalk, ride the Cyclone and/or get a Nathan’s Hot Dog! Send us a pic!

PS 329 School Yard
2929 West 30th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11224

Read more about the "Better than Ever: Coney Island's Resilience Mural"by clicking here.

More than 150 volunteers have had a hand in executing Coney Island’s Resilience Mural.
Jeremy says his group envisions doing more for schools for a number of reasons. One reason is that he believes that co-creating something like a mural is beautiful, offering a "cross-pollination" for stake holders in a community. The mural  itself becomes a metaphor with a significant message to populations that come from difficult circumstances.  Every dollar his organization receives provides the opportunity for projects like this to come to life.

To donate to 20/20 Visions Schools please click here.
To learn more about opportunities for artists click here to contact Jeremy del Rio.

Later this Week...

Stay tuned for more images of the mural in its final stages and my interview with Sam Wisneski where we discuss more of the artistic process behind the creation of this large-scale mural.

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