Greenpoint Gazette

Restoring Art to Its Original Creators in Bushwick

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A North Brooklyn community services organization is giving longtime neighborhood artists their long delayed time in the spotlight.

The Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC), recently launched its first ever community art project in Bushwick, a project that commissions local artists to create independent public art – where the artists have full control over what they create.

“The long term artist community has not received a lot of support or visibility in the way the new artists have in Bushwick,” said Brigitte Blood, a community organizer at RBSCC, who is taking the lead on this initiative at the organization. “Our organization has a longstanding commitment to supporting to low income and working class people, and we wanted to be responsive to a changing environment and add some long term voices to the creative conversation in the neighborhood.

For this project, RBSCC selected three artists and art collectives based in Bushwick with the conditions that they had either been longtime resident artists of the neighborhood or used their artwork to reflect the different cultures and populations that make Bushwick what it is today.

To ensure that the works of the artists selected wouldn’t just be blotted over by banners or advertisements as they frequently are in the neighborhood, RBSCC only used walls of buildings either owned by themselves or by community organizations that would not endanger the artists’ work.

Before making the final selections, RBSCC sent out a request for proposal to encourage local artists to apply and submit their ideas for public murals. The three selected best met the criteria of highlighting historic aspects of the neighborhood and respecting the artists’ ties to Bushwick.

Of the three commissioned murals, one has been completed, and the other two are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The artists selected include Mark Garcia, who is known for his mural works in Brooklyn, and is creating one at 1285 Greene Avenue; Arts And Rhymes, known for its collaborative efforts of photographers, cinematographers, graphic designers, painters, dancers and DJ’s is creating a mural at 424 Melrose Street with Troutman Street based artist HopsArt; and the third mural is being created at 26 Morgan Avenue by the World of Dreem Collective.

The RBSCC opened in 1973 and was primarily a senior service provider at the time. In subsequent years however the organization has significantly expanded its services and become a comprehensive community service organization serving Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, East New York, Ridgewood, and Glendale.

To learn more about the project visit http://www.rbscc.org/rbscc/housing/community_artist_project/.

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