Yesterday, the artists and youthful volunteers of Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute proudly dedicated the fruits of their labor – a beautifully crafted mosaic in the soon-to-be green space of P.S. 164 schoolyard in Borough Park – created for the enjoyment of both the school’s students, as well as the community at large.
The mural, created in partnership with both P.S. 164 and the Trust for Public Land, titled “∞ Dreams (Infinite Dreams),” was the result of a collaboration of 15 young people with Groundswell artists Clare Herron and Grace Baley. In honor of the green space the mosaic will overlook, as well as the community it will serve, the work uses natural imagery such as the dandelion, along with themes borrowed from Jewish culture, like the number eight, which also symbolizes the mathematical concept of infinity.
“Our concept was influenced by the idea of perseverance and the importance of not letting go of your dreams. We came to all our ideas through researching the Jewish community and from guest speakers who took their time to speak with us. We decided to use the number eight because of its significance within Jewish culture. We also used a contrast of styles to represent the two communities here: the Hasidic community and public school 164,” said youth artist Emani Hears.
Mural art, in combination with the green space, seems to adds a deeper aesthetic experience to a schoolyard that’s already sure to be more enjoyable sans asphalt. The creative partnership between Trust for Public Land and Groundswell seems to be reflected in the harmonious and complimentary effect the play space and decorative mosaic will have on each other.
It’s a model for creativity, teamwork and success that will be difficult to ignore by anyone using the schoolyard.
“The Trust for Public Land values our partnership with Groundswell, which allows us to create beautiful art through a participatory design process with neighborhood youth in school and community playgrounds around NYC,” said Trust for Public Land Director of New York State’s NYC Playgrounds Program Mary Alice Lee.
“Groundswell is also delighted to continue our partnership with The Trust for Public Land with the unveiling of this beautiful mosaic,” said Groundswell Executive Director Amy Sananman. “As we approach the ten-year anniversary of September 11, the coming together of these diverse communities in the creation of a shared public space is an illustration of a more peaceful society we can all help build.”
Can you save the world just by building and decorating green spaces for the community? Probably not, but it’s a start.
You could call this a promising beginning to a beautiful future – one schoolyard at a time.