Our Town

Groundswell Community Mural Project

New York, New York




Photo of the side of a building with a large sign saying: Yesterday I was, today I am, tomorrow I will be.

This 2012 mural was created through a collaboration of the Brownsville Community Justice Center and Student Farm Project and is located at 514 Rockaway Avenue in Brownsville. The lead artist is Chris Soria and assistant artist is Jules Joseph. Photo courtesy of Groundswell

The NEA grant will support Transform/Restore: Brownsville, the transformation of vandalized walls into painted murals by young adults on probation. This participatory public art project is designed to engage high-risk young adults, local businesses, and community members in creating visible and permanent change in one of New York City's most challenged neighborhoods. In partnership with the New York City Department of Probation and Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District, Groundswell will work with young adults to conduct community interviews and surveys that identify Brownsville's hidden strengths, and translate their findings into visual imagery for large-scale murals.

As many as 40 young adults on probation will complete five large-scale public art projects to be enjoyed by Brownsville's 116,000 residents. Brownsville has the highest concentration of public housing of any neighborhood in the nation, and 1 in 12 Brownsville men between the ages of 16 to 24 is in prison.