by Gary Axelbank
September 11, 2018
The images are simple, the colors are bright and the message is positive. Every day life for people walking 207th Street near Bainbridge Avenue just got a little sunnier thanks to a 40′ x 12′ mural designed by artist Laura Avarez, painted by local people, and supported/funded by ArtBridge, Liquitex Artist Materials, and Councilman Andrew Cohen. Also a shout out goes to local resident Elisabeth von Uhl for her efforts in igniting this project.
The Art Bridge team took on a three-year effort to transform the wall from graffiti-tagged to a community work of art. Once administrative and property approvals were finally in place, the wall took three days to paint.
For Alvarez, the simple imagery has deep meaning in the roots of the people of Norwood.
“The Bronx has a large immigrant and blue collar community,” she said, “and manual labor is a common theme: earning the bread with your hands. I always remember my grandmother working at home sewing, crocheting and knitting. She used to make crochet flower mats for everything. That’s the inspiration for the mural’s background flowers, which lay on top of the blue of the Mediterranean Sea I grew up looking at. On top, the flowers remind us that Spring always comes and that we can look forward to good times.”
ArtBridge’s executive director Stephen Pierson added, “We were thrilled to work with Ms. Alvarez who has demonstrated the vital role that local artists can play in improving their neighborhoods. The community response — both during and after the installation — has been overwhelmingly positive.”
This is the second community art project to be unveiled in the area over the last few weeks. As reported on thisistheBronX, the Jerome Gun-Hill BID had the ‘Norwood Column’ installed on the corner of East Mosholu Parkway and the Grand Concourse.