We checked out the Dodworth Street Mural Project on a cold and sunny morning in late February. Catching sight of the first group of murals (the ones closer to Bushwick Ave.), our stomach sank a little. The pieces had been hit with reckless graffiti. A man walked out of one of the garages and asked, “Are you here to see the murals? They were painted over about 2 weeks ago.” He then went on to say that his brother owns the garage and they really enjoyed having the artists over to paint. He was particularly distraught about the mural by Brazilian artist Gustavo Nenao of a smiling young boy with the beloved phrase “I love NYC.” It was his favorite. Whipping out his phone to show pictures of the piece in its previous unharmed state, the man said that he and Nenao shared beers to celebrate the mural’s completion. “He’s going to be really upset when he hears about this, it took him a longtime to make.”
The Dodworth Street Mural Project joins the growing list of urban art projects popping up around the city. Businesses donate walls; artists – many with a street background – transform the walls into eye-catching works of art. A mission to revitalize and inspire the surrounding community guides each project. Curated by local artist Rocko, this one supports the Dodworth Street area between Broadway and Bushwick Ave. The project is funded by the Dodworth Street Senior Center and also has connections with youth educations programs.
Fortunately, the murals closer to Broadway and around the corner were left untouched for the most part. The usual suspects have work here – Lexi Bella, See One, Col Wallnuts, Danielle Mastrioni, Damien Mitchell, and Marthalicia. It was great to see the door by Claw Money representing the PMS crew.
The conversation with the man at the garage really had us thinking about the positive impact the Dodworth Street Mural Project and other similar projects are having on local communities. He was truly touched by the mural he saw everyday while working in the garage. In addition to beautifying a brick and concrete lined street, these murals help people form meaningful relationships with art, stimulate ideas and thoughtful discussions, and bring joy.