Bay Ridge artist spends pandemic painting neighborhood window displays

Artist Alicia Degener with her inspiring window art.
Alicia Degener

A southern Brooklyn artist is decorating the windows of Bay Ridge businesses with local landmarks and encouraging messages to spark joy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“What better time than ever to put up inspirational words thanking essential workers and putting up art for people to just be able to pass by and make them feel better about their everyday current, abnormal lives we are in,” said Alicia Degener, whose artwork has often paid homage to Brooklyn and her neighborhood, Bay Ridge.

For her first installment, Degener painted the Statue of Liberty and uplifting notes on the windows of Bubbles and Suds Laundromat on Fifth Avenue. The painting, she hoped, would help bring her neighbors together, she said. 

“I wanted to bring a sense of community,” she said. 

The painting garnered attention, inspiring about ten more neighborhood businesses to sign up for a personalized window painting and prompting Degener to enlist the help of friends. 

“We have a long list of other businesses on Fifth Avenue that I will have my local artist Bay Ridge friends come do,” Degener said. “We are happy to share a sense of community and not to feel so down.” 

Alicia Degener’s artwork at Bubbles and Suds Laundromat.Alicia Degener

The urban landscape artist said the she came up with window painting project after she posted photos of her art to the Bay Ridge Facebook page, and the photos began getting traction. 

“When we went into the shelter-in-place situation here in New York City, I had the idea to start posting my artwork of Bay Ridge to a Bay Ridge Facebook site,” Degener said. “Some of the comments people put are just really wonderful, it made me feel better myself.”

The project has been keeping her busy through the pandemic, she said, but she’s also noticed that more people are purchasing artwork from her online shop as they consume artwork to help cheer them up.

“Everybody is home and they want things to make them feel happy so they are ordering tons of Bay Ridge art and things like that so I am busier than ever,” Degener said, stressing that she’d give it all up “to go back to normal life.”

Degener’s window project has been partially funded by the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, who pitched in for Degener’s supplies.