On Friday, January 25th, we unveiled a new mural at the Monterey Houses in East Tremont, Bronx. Multigenerational Bloom - Community Revolution in Progress was completed by Nadya Voynovskaya and two alumni assistants: Karina Linares and Publio Lantigua.
We were honored to spend the morning with City Council Member Ritchie Torres who made this project possible through a generous grant from his office. We were also joined by residents, Tenant Association Leaders, and community members who have been infusing the neighborhood with creative work for over 20 years.
We heard from Council Member Torres about why investing in artmaking in public housing is so important. He urged us to celebrate and honor residents who have harnessed the power of artistic creation to share their stories.
Executive Director, Robyne Walker Murphy, spoke about Groundswell’s 22 years of work with youth and communities, including longstanding partnerships with Council Member Torres and New York City Public Housing Authority. She noted how it takes City Council Members, like Council Member Torres, who are truly passionate about the power of art and Groundswell's unique approach to make this work happen.
Robyne shared how this mural represents the liberating forces in our lives “This mural represents a community of people who came together who said: We want to talk about what’s great in our community, we want to highlight the residents in our community and we want to get residents involved in actually making the art in our community.”
Lead artist, Nadya Voynovskaya, spoke next about the process. She shared the mural's significance for the community, and reflected on the unique team of alumni and blooming artists who were able to grow through the completion of this project. "The mural specifically centers young people as leaders both in the present and in the future. It also pays a special homage to Bronx, New York City, and Civil Rights history and it features figures on the left side of the mural such as Bayard Rustin, Darcel Clark, and the Free Breakfast Program.”
Nadya thanked Darryl Sisco, a resident and muralist, who joined the team in painting the mural:
“The mural really honors the contribution of the older generation that has shaped our present day. I really looked to use this an opportunity to view the mural as a mirror. It is meant to reflect the beauty and brilliance that already exists here.”
Publio Lantigua, a Groundswell Program Alumni and FIT student, who assisted on the mural shared that “the most beautiful part was seeing the residents participate and paint and help us accomplish this vision.”
Gill Simmons, Tenant Leader and resident, shared his appreciation for Groundswell and Torres:
“It’s wonderful, and I love it! The artists were fantastic, and it came out really beautiful. I’m looking forward to doing more projects with you here at Monterey.”
Torres closed by reminding us that “activism is an inheritance, we are part of a history of activism, and we should never forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.”