Arts & Culture

Prospect Park’s ‘Secret Garden’ Comes Alive With 7,000 Pinwheels

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Local artist Katrina Majkut and Noah. (Photo by Carly Miller/BKLYNER)

Prosepct Park’s long-neglected Rose Garden is blooming for the first time since the 1800s, thanks to an immersive public art installation featuring a field of 7,000 pinwheels.

The Connective Project, a combined effort from the Prospect Park Alliance, AREA4, and Reddymade Architecture + Design, has transformed the historic 2.5-acre plot in the Park’s north eastern corner into a destination for artists and parkgoers looking for a quiet respite.

Grainne Cohen from Area4, Assembly Member Robert Carroll, ReddyMade architect Suchi Reddy, State Senator Kevin Parker, and Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. (Photo by Amanda Gentile/ADG Photography)

The pinwheels, made from weather-resistant, compostable stone dust paper, each feature work from established or emerging Brooklyn artists of all ages. The interior of each pinwheel varies dramatically, from elaborate illustrations to photographs and paintings of park scenes. Together, the individual pinwheels form a sculptural landscape that moves along with the natural curvature of the three connected fields.

“We wanted to create something that would initiate a dialogue about the importance of public spaces, which we feel is so important right now, but also something that generates wonder and play,” said Reddymade founder Suchi Reddy.

The installation opens during the Park’s 150th anniversary year, which the nonprofit Prospect Park Alliance has been celebrating in style, with events, historic restoration projects, and soirees.

(Photo by Carly Miller/BKLYNER)

Gowanus-based artist Katrina Majkut, who created a beautiful image using a Japanese marbling technique, brought her son Noah to marvel at the spectacle on the installation’s Friday opening. “It’s important to see it in action with the wind,” she said.

As the afternoon wind whipped through the pinwheels, Bed-Stuy artist Parris Jaru said the sound reminded him of flapping wings.

Artist Parris Jaru sitting by his pinwheel. (Photo by Carly Miller/BKLYNER)

The garden, though only a few minutes from Grand Army Plaza, feels like a hidden secret, tucked in between the forest paths that were glistening from Friday’s early rain storm.

The enclave-like destination is fitting, given the project’s architectural mission to enhance the park’s sense of discovery, carefully designed by designers Olmsted and Vaux said Reddy.

View from the garden. (Photo by Carly Miller/BKLYNER)

Through its history, this stretch of greenery served as a rose garden complete with lily ponds, a children’s playground, and home to the Park’s first, horse-powered carousel.

But in recent years, the grove became overgrown and under-utilized by parkgoers. But this revitalization is just the first step for the soon-to-be-revitalized garden, as the Alliance teams up with the Hester Street Collaborative to crowdsource the best new uses and designs for the park’s secret garden. Learn more about the project here.

Rose Garden ad lily ponds, 1916. (Photo via Prospect Park Archives/Bob Levine Collection)

Catch the installation while on view until July 17, from dawn until dusk every day. The easiest way to find the garden is by starting at Grand Army Plaza and take the walking path, see map below:

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