Transform/Restore: Brownsville

Every person in a community should be recognized for their contributions, but there are often not enough opportunities to reflect on the people who make a neighborhood vibrant. From 2014 to 2015, the New York City Department of Probation, the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District, and Groundswell presented “Transform/Restore: Brownsville,” a transformative mural project. This participatory public art project was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Initiative.



This two-year initiative used a series of community public art making projects to bring together artists, young adult probation clients, Groundswell youth leaders, local businesses, and community members to identify and highlight the hidden treasures of Brownsville. The series provided talented youth, including young adult probation clients, with a highly visible platform to create permanent and positive change within their own neighborhood, while expanding their access to new opportunities, resources, and services.


The five murals of “Transform/Restore: Brownsville” not only encourage all Brownsville residents to honor themselves, but also inspires all of New York to celebrate this engaged community. As one youth artist stated, the process provided everyone the opportunity to gain wisdom: “Through the painting of this mural, the elders’ voices from the community were made much more visible because their concerns were for bettering the younger generations and having more activities for them.” By bringing to life the beauty and strength of Brownsville, Groundswell artists truly celebrated the community’s greatest hidden treasures—the neighborhood’s community members.


Read the City of New York's press release to learn more about the initiative.

Murals in this Series