About 100 Bushwick locals came out Sunday for a block party and mural unveiling aimed at fostering support for the community, by the community.
The mural, on the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and Troutman Street, promotes a litter-free Bushwick in Northern Brooklyn.
“We try to keep the momentum going because we knew that at some point Covid would go away and the environmental crisis wouldn’t,” said Kristen Tadrous, assistant director of the Clean Bushwick Initiative. CBI organized the mural unveiling to push for environmental action in the community, something the group has been working on since its founding in 2016.
The event was also an opportunity for local businesses and government officials to speak to the community, and had everything from art and music to a census fill-out station.
The block-party style celebration had speakers and tables from several prominent Bushwick voices. Riseboro Community Partnership owns the building that the mural was painted on and helped locals fill out the census while DeliveryZero, a Brooklyn-based sustainable restaurant service, set people up with reusable containers for take-out.
The star of the afternoon was the group Bushwick Ayuda Mutua, a mutual aid group responding to the community’s needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The group works with more than 200 families each week.
“There are folks who do not have food, who do not have toilet paper, who do not have diapers for their babies and it’s heartbreaking,” said Sara Rodas, co-director of Bushwick Ayuda Mutua. Over $200 was raised ahead of the event and all will be donated to support the group’s work.
Local city officials were also in attendance. The city’s Department of Sanitation had a table with flyers on proper garbage- and recycling-disposal techniques.
For CBI, a mural is the perfect way to remind Bushwick locals to take care of their streets–and each other.
The mural’s artist, Jason Naylor, said he tries to create works with positive messaging. For Naylor, the mural is a form that blends the street with its people.
“When you take something that has an inspirational quality and put it as street art, it has a nice catchy edge to it,” Naylor said.
CBI chose Naylor as the artist because of his Bushwick home base.
“We are advocating for a place where people feel safe and proud of where they’re from,” Tadrous said, “Paying homage to Bushwick and paying homage to being litter-free, it’s a sense of pride.”