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Posts Tagged ‘bushwick’

I continue to be a fan of street art and the way it allows informal artists to express themselves while also letting passersby enjoy both homespun and professional achievements as they go about their errands.

In Rhode Island, there’s a painted rock. Everyone paints it, and no painting lasts for long. In the summer, paintings wishing someone happy birthday may last only a few hours, as mine did one Birthday Week when Suzanne turned 16 and John turned 21. (They didn’t wake up in time to see it.)

There has also been some amazing work by experts on that rock, too, but it gets respect for only a couple days. It’s essential to capture it with a camera.

Yesterday I passed along an idea to a gallery owner that she liked. How about painting the painted rock to look like a rock!? Crazy, huh? She may do it, too. She has a painting of rocks in the current show that she could replicate. She knows she’d have to take a photograph, though, or the rock might be painted over before anyone sees it.

Meanwhile, here’s a nice story about street art in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

Amy O’Leary writes at the NY Times, “Growing up, Joseph Ficalora would sit on the roof of his family’s steel fabrication business. In Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the 1980s, it was one of the few safe places outdoors. The view was grim. The streets were dirty. Graffiti was endless. …

“Most people want to hold onto their past as it was, but Mr. Ficalora has found greater comfort in obliterating it, bathing the neighborhood in paint.

“Today the rooftop of [his] family business, GCM Steel, offers an eye-popping panorama of street art. More than 50 multicolored murals have transformed a swath of nearby buildings into a vast outdoor gallery called the Bushwick Collective, anchored at the intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.” More.

Photo: Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Gaia, well-known among street artists, paints — legally — on a building in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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I was interested in an article in today’s NY Times about a school that gives chronically failing students another chance. It succeeds against all odds, but success is a slow process. New York’s mayor is not a fan, because many kids take six years to graduate.

Aniah McAllister, once a lost and wandering soul, has one of the happier stories. Reporter Michael Powell writes that she seems amazed to have earned 46 credits and to be headed to college.

“ ‘This school made realize,’ she says, ‘that I am much better than I thought I was.’

“That’s a pretty fair bottom line for any school,” writes Powell, “although in the up-is-down world of public education in New York, it might just be an epitaph for this small marvel of a high school. Known as a transfer high school, Bushwick Community admits only those teenagers who have failed elsewhere. Most students enter at age 17 or 18, and most have fewer than 10 credits.

“You can muck around quite a bit trying to find someone who has walked the school’s corridors, talked to its students and faculty, and come away unmoved. Most sound like Kathleen M. Cashin, a member of the State Board of Regents and a former superintendent. ‘They care for the neediest with love and rigor,’ she said. ‘They are a tribute to public education.’ ”

Read the article. I’m hoping it will have an influence on the policymakers and let an initiative that sounds so positive keep going.

Aniah McAllister, left, Justin Soto and Kassandra Barrientos attend Bushwick Community High School. Photograph: Kirsten Luce, NY Times

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