Art / Education

Simpson Street mural has education theme

Dona Braghieri

Tats Cru’s mural on Simpson Street.

Graffiti artists’ latest piece honors charter schools

“Don’t Steal Possible” – the motto of a pro-charter school citywide organization – is now emblazoned on a wall at the intersection of Simpson Street and Westchester Avenue, thanks to the commissioned work of famed graffiti art collective Tats Cru.

The mural, unveiled early this fall by Families for Excellent Schools, is a statement in color and words, with the O in “possible” replaced by the proverbial teacher’s apple, inside which reads, “Discovery is possible; Inspiration is possible; Learning is possible; A school where kids are given the tools to succeed is possible.”

Families for Excellent Schools, while not local to the Bronx, brought in Tats Cru as a way to communicate their message of creating better schools to local families. Hunts Point and Longwood are now home to 10 charter schools, serving hundreds of families in the neighborhood.

And while Tats Cru accepts most commissions no matter the cause or client, the artists said they were behind this particular mural in spirit as well.

“We felt proud to back the cause,” said Wilfredo “Bio” Feliciano, one of the three artists who completed the mural and who also grew up on Simpson Street, just down the block. “Why should the education level in the Bronx be lower than in other districts? Possibilities really are stolen from many children here in the Bronx.”

Tats Cru member Sotero “BG183” Ortiz can also relate to the message: his son and daughter both attend charter schools in Hunts Point. Ortiz got involved in this particular mural because he thinks charter schools have great programs. “They educate children on what they want to learn and as a parent you want to send them there because they learn all the regular stuff plus something special.”

Ortiz added that passers-by would ask them about the subject of the mural as they painted, and in that process, they met a lot of charter supporters on the street. “It was a win-win situation,” Ortiz said of Tats Cru’s involvement in the mural. “It was positive and successful that we as the artists got involved with something like this.”

The concept was provided by the client but the design was left to the artists, who also included Hector “Nicer” Nazario. To create the mural, the three men used cans of spray paint. The entire wall was completed in just five hours.

This mural complements another Tats Cru work, the “I Love the Bronx” mural directly across on Simpson Street, which occupies an entire side of a discount store and was painted in 2012.

“Generally we are commissioned to create a piece that tells a story, that conveys a message,” said Ortiz. “But sometimes we just like the idea to make unappealing places in the neighborhood beautiful. Gone are the days in which we paint without permission.”

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