By Damali Ramirez ‘18
Groundswell, a non-profit art organization, will unveil a new mural on Flatbush Ave towards the end of June. The mural will be completed in the second week of June, and it hopes to capture the diversity of the junction.
Lead artist, Chris Soria, and assistant artist, Alexis Mena guide the volunteers while working on the project and expand their artistic horizons.
“Don’t let school or academics dictate what your art is, art is personal, art is diligent, art is for you until you decide otherwise,” said Mena as advice for young artists.
Councilman Jumaane D. Williams came up with the idea of diversity in Flatbush for the mural, according to Mena. Mr. Williams is paying for the project because he believes diversity in a community makes it unique.
Although Mr. Williams came up with the concept, it was Soria and his team who designed the artwork. Soria has been working with Groundswell for eight years but has been an artist for 20 years.
Approximately 15 volunteers from Midwood show up to work on the 1000 square feet wall on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Elyse Cruz ‘17, a volunteer, said, “I volunteered to paint the mural because it feels rewarding to be part of something amazing. To be able to put a mural for the community you live in is really good.”
However, the volunteers face many obstacles during the art process. During AP exam week, five kids showed up to scrape the old grey paint off that was previously there. Then, they applied primer paint on it, which is an undercoat layer that ensures the new paint will remain.
It took two weeks to finish the process, and it delayed the original planned schedule.
“I don’t see it as problems more like challenges. The size of the wall is the biggest challenge of this mural,” said Soria. Week by week Soria and his team remain optimistic about the mural and finishing it as scheduled.
Vandalism was a concern from the start and volunteers were told graffiti was likely to occur before, during, or after the painting process. Unfortunately, at one point Soria and the volunteers found graffiti at the edge of the wall, giving another challenge for them to face.
The mural features a geometric bright pattern background with the colors yellow, blue, orange, purple, and brown. On top of the background there will be a diverse population of people.
Ada Jiang ‘18 said, “I hope it makes people happy to be in junction. I hope people are more accepting to each other.”
Soria said, “Embrace what you gravitate towards, whether that’s art, academics, dancing, and scrap booking. Listen to your inner voice,” as his advice to young aspiring artists.