Mural to Grace Streets of Flatbush

By Alasia Miller ‘17

In order to not only brighten the streets of Flatbush, but also to encapsulate the diversity of the neighborhood, the Groundswell Community Project will be collaborating with Midwood High school to paint a mural along the blank canvas of an Avenue H wall.`

The students who are involved with the project attend after school workshops from 3:30 to 5:30 supervised by art teacher, Mr. Pincus, lead artist Misha Tyutyunik and assistant artist, Iris Loughran. The mural is expected to be completed by May 26, 2016. In one workshop, a guest speaker came into an early session to present a detailed history of Flatbush in order to give the students a sense of what to explore when designing the mural. By session 5, students  finished brainstorming and began designing their portions of the mural.

According to their website, Groundswell, is a program that strives to incorporate underprivileged children and skilled artists’ voices and stories into New York city neighborhoods through mural paintings. It has decided to work in collaboration with City Councilman Jumaane Williams to make this mural come to fruition behind the scenes.

Tyutyunik, who is a Ukrainian-born modern artist, has high expectations for the finished project of the mural painting.

“I hope to see the history of the neighborhood, the vibrancy of the people, the architecture, the stories, the different landmarks and ultimately a creative and unique composition” he said.

Walking down a street of Flatbush, one can pass a Mexican restaurant with a west Indian girl seated happily at a small table and a Jewish boy chuckling across from her. According to the American Community Survey for 2009-2013, Flatbush is filled with immigrants, who constitute most of its population.

Loughran, who is an on-campus activist  is craving a fresh new mural that will drip with diversity.

“I hope to see accurate depiction of Flatbush history that’s not whitewashed or glossed over. I want to see students happy with the outcome and engaged with the community,” said Loughran.

Some students believe that this opportunity won’t only improve Flatbush’s atmosphere presently, but for many years to come. Ahreema Choudhary ’18 believes that is especially why the youth should be engaged and involved, not just older  artists.

“I hope the public feels connected to the art and are interested in it and are proud to have the mural in their community and treat it as a part of them so that younger generations can have a look into the past and see how things changed, like a brief history lesson,” She said.

Tyutyunik supposes this could be a chance to improve the neighborhood.

“It’s screaming for an amazing mural conceived by its residents and youth,” said Tyutyunik.

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