Paint company Benjamin Moore, various artists,over 100 volunteers, and interns to help paint the longest mural in NYC in the Rockaways as part of a citywide day of service. Hundreds of community volunteers lent their time and talents this past weekend to get the mural started, with City interns participating today as part of NYC Service’s annual “Intern Day of Service.” The day allows City interns the opportunity to provide hands-on assistance to communities in need.
“This mural is a symbol of the strength of the Rockaway community and just another reminder that Rockaway is getting back on its feet after Hurricane Sandy,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “We’re so happy to bring this year’s day of service to the Rockaways to complete this mural, the longest ever painted in NYC.” In May, NYC Parks invited artists and designers to envision the surface of the ordinary barriers along Shore Front Parkway as canvases for art. Artists were encouraged to offer proposals that consisted of a simple, bold pattern that could be painted by volunteers using stencils. They were instructed to account for the function of the barrier and its uneven surface, as well as the community’s design preferences, which were gathered at a community brainstorming session. After receiving more than 50 submissions, a committee of NYC and Rockaway artists, architects, and designers selected ten finalists. Over 500 community members voted at MoMA PS1’s VW Dome 2 in Rockaway to select three of those designs, which included designs by artists Jade Chan, John Garcia, and Patty Harris.
The mural is painted along both sides of the barriers, totaling more than a mile and a half. The barriers separate a pedestrian and bike lane from vehicular traffic along Shore Front Parkway from Beach 74th to Beach 107th Streets. There are approximately 20 access points for pedestrians, bicycles and emergency vehicles, bordered by plastic bollards.
Among the artists involved are Jade Chan who designed a work called “In Flight”. When she visited Rockaway Beach, she was inspired by the warmth, the sun and the colors that jumped out at her from the sky, water and sand. She observed the birds in flight and was inspired by this free and liberating vision. Chan sees In Flight as a representation of the freedom and strength of the human spirit. As a surf regular of Rockaway Beach, John Garcia hopes to pay tribute to Rockaway Beach’s surf culture in his barrier mural. He will paint images of Rockaway surfers riding waves, along with the birds that often keep them company on the water and on the shore. Patty Harris has created animations of floods and is fascinated by the way water moves. Experienced in looking closely at the sea, she pulled a few simple forms that suggest the movement and pattern of a wave. For the Shore Parkway barrier, Patty will paint shapes that express the undulating movement of a wave. She will add curved shapes that hold water of a slightly different color—just as actual water displays a range of hues. To this rhythmical simple pattern, Harris will include the silhouetted forms of surfers at the crests of the waves.