ON THE CALENDAR
There are currently no events to display.
'Village of murals' aims to guide residents to park
Many of the workers at Sims Metal Management on Edgewater Road take an extra few minutes to enjoy the view these days, now that the fence around their scruffy scrap yard on the Bronx River is adorned with a series of huge, brightly-colored murals.
“Every day I see the guys stop to look at the murals,” says Mark Santiago, the recycling firm’s facility manager. “Some even drop by on a Sunday or their days off.”
Aging industrial buildings surround the scrap yard. Behind its fence is a mountain of rusting metal. But stretching along the fence, covering 320 square feet, are visions of what the neighborhood could be.
In one, a huge carp swims toward a giant lotus blossom. In another, a kayaker breasts the Bronx River. Children plant flowers in a park, and apartment houses resembling those in Hunts Point show through oversized translucent faces.
The murals are the second batch to enliven Hunts Point’s industrial streets. They are part of a larger project devised by Carey Clark, the director of arts education at The Point, called “Village of Murals.” The idea is to brighten the route from residential Hunts Point to the South Bronx Greenway and Barretto Point Park.
There is no public transportation to Barretto Point Park, and according to a survey conducted by the teens in The Point’s A.C.T.I.O.N. program, more than half of those who visited the park in 2008 walked. But graffiti, vacant homes and abandoned cars make many Hunts Point streets feel threatening, says Clark.
The team of local artists she’s assembled aims to transform the feeling of those streets one mural at a time.
Misra Walker, a member of the A.C.T.I.O.N. team that conducted the survey and the daughter of one of the contributing artists, Alejandra Delfin, believes the murals beautify the walk and help people feel safe. Because of them, “I am more likely to go and enjoy the park,” she says.
The first set of murals was painted on a plastic recycling factory, New York Recycling Ventures on Longfellow Avenue, also owned by Sims.
“Sims was new in the neighborhood, and wanted to be a good neighbor,” said Andrea Shaffer, who heads City Matters LLC, an environmental consulting firm that participated in the mural project. “They wanted to do something good for their community.”
Sims paid some $35,000 for the artists and their supplies and tools.
In addition to Clark and Delfin, the artists included Marc Whalen, Luis Nieves, Freddy Sepulveda, Kathleena Howie Garcia, Carolina Diaz, and Nelson Rivas.
“The people who can’t afford trips to the movies or to museums can walk by and appreciate what we have done,” says Delfin. “Anyone and everyone can enjoy the murals.”
A version of this story appeared in the September 2010 issue of The Hunts Point Express.