In 2013, as a response to the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, Groundswell and LISC New York City presented “Recovery Diaspora,” a collaborative citywide public art installation created by renowned street artist Swoon, in collaboration with Groundswell teaching artists and youth from Red Hook, Coney Island, Staten Island and the Rockaways, among the neighborhoods most affected by the storm.


Through this project, Groundswell youth artists drew from stories of healing and recovery from impacted neighborhoods to create a visual narrative that captures the concerns, hopes, and overall spirits of these communities.


The teen participants dedicated their summers to creating four permanent murals for their communities, created in collaboration with local partners Astella Development Corporation (Coney Island), Fifth Avenue Committee (Red Hook), Northfield Community LDC (Staten Island) and Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation (the Rockaways). During this phase, Groundswell Lead and Assistant Artists will lead the team in research and field trips. The teams met with Swoon through a series of classes and studio visits with the artist, renowned for her delicate paste ups and large-scale installation work.


We were able to see that we are all connected in some way. That was the most important thing about this mural project for me - relating to one another to create family and have valuable shared experiences. I was able to open up and let new people into my life, which I know will help me move forward.

— Tasleem Sheikh, youth artist


Elements from these four murals were brought together into one design in a temporary mural on the Bowery Mural wall. Scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the storm on October 29, the Bowery Mural wall installation was a testament to both resilience and vulnerability. By engaging the public in its design, “Recovery Diaspora” highlighted the importance of continued relief efforts by and for Sandy’s victims.

Murals in this Series