This summer I am working with WHEDco to create a Step Street Mural in the Highbridge neighborhood of The Bronx. We have done a couple of outreach events to let the community know this is coming and to gather volunteers to help with the painting process. Right now we are just waiting on some permits but I can already taste the paint!!!
In the past years, some organizations and neighborhoods in the Bronx have started to fight back against the burden of being number 62 out of 62 counties in the health rank of New York.
Part of the #Not62 initiative have been the community gardens that have sprung around the borough, promoting healthy eating. One of the issues we face is the food deserts, where you have to travel in order to get fruits and vegetables, and when you find them they are expensive and their quality is not great.
These small gardens give the communities an alternative option, growing your own food, and at the same time they create community spaces where you get to know your neighbors and share time with them.
This step street mural is an homage to those gardens and at the same time will make fun and colorful the fact that you have to go up and down the stairs, promoting exercise.
In this project I want to involve the community gardens inviting them to help in the painting process and also bringing information about what they do and where they are located to get more people to join them. Public art is a great outreach platform. Once we are done we will write the names of the gardens in the steps.
This past April 30, 2019 I had the pleasure to be part of a collective exhibition in my hometown, Gandia, Valencia in Spain. It is the 50th anniversary of my High School, IES Maria Enriquez, and the current art teacher (we didn't have one by then) organized an exhibition with alumni to celebrate it. It was an interesting show, and most of the artists are younger, lots of animation and illustration from very talented people, which makes me happy.
The explanation is in English and Valencian, the language I studied with when in High School and during my career.
I am a firm believer that tradition is very important in our lives. The Bronx area has a big immigrant and blue collar community. What they have in common is the manual labor, earning the bread with your hands. I always remember the older woman in my family working at home taking care of the families but also sewing, crocheting and knitting. My grandmother used to make this crochet flower mats for everything. That's the inspiration for the background flowers, that lay on top of the blue of the Mediterranean Sea I grew up looking at. On top, the flowers to remind us that Spring always come and we can look forward good times. Finally I also wanted to pay homage to the neighborhood and the borough by using the frames already on the wall to write their names.
Thank you Artbridge for this opportunity and for coordinating the whole thing. The installation took 3 full days to complete, aided by numerous community volunteers. It was funded by local council member Andrew Cohen, as part of the council’s NYC Cleanup Initiative. All paint was generously donated by Liquitex Professional. Thank you local resident Elisabeth von Uhl’s prodigious efforts were the spark plug for this project. We need more people like you.
Sometimes there are projects that happen and you don't know how much fun they are going to be until they happen. The preparation for this mural was somehow long and uncertain because of the design. We went through several sketches and I wasn't even sure if the one we went with was what the school wanted.
After all that work, my process is always “let it flow... there’s nothing wrong in art” you are working with kids, so whatever ideas you have in your head, most likely won't be what they want to do. I gave them some directions, and some of them were disregarded (like keep the hand prints in the sun) so we incorporated that in the design. I think after all, it ended up looking great. Over 30 kids participated in this community mural during period of 2 hours. They painted and wrote words that school inspired them and we all had an awesome evening.
Within the past three years, we've been working hard to grow and engage our community. We are excited to share that we will be celebrating three years of art in the community on April 28, 2018!
We would love to share this day with you and would be delighted to have you join us for [Arts]sembly: Art is Community Third Annual Celebration. [Arts]sembly is a fundraiser and cultural art showcase and it will be an evening filled with fun art activities, music, dance performances and artists showcase!
Come dance the night away with Uptown Vinyl Supreme, enjoy of the beautiful Alianza Dominicana Folklore Dancers, listen to poetry and the performance of singer, Brandon Tyler. Be re-energized by an Art Exhibition by members of the BxArts Factory, get inspired by Keynote Speakers, create in our Art Stations and participate in our raffle! Food will be available for purchase and will be provided by City Tamale and other food vendors.
Please consider joining us and purchasing a ticket to this wonderful celebration. For more details and tickets please visit www.artful.ly/bxartsfactory
Thank you for all your support throughout the years. Looking forward to celebrating with you!
[Arts]sembly: Art is Community Third Annual Celebration
When: Saturday, April 28th, 2018
Where: Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
Address: 530 W 166th St, New York, New York 10032
Time: 6 to 10 pm
This framed, screenprint of my piece "Bodegón" will be part of the raffle. Don't think it twice and get your tickets now!
I am a...
Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Educator, Community Activist... ARTIST!
All Images COPYRIGHT © 2008-2017, are property of Laura Alvarez Fernandez. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED