Different strokes: Crown Heights mural celebrates neighborhood’s diverse history and communities

Bringing people together: Young Brooklynites joined Council member Laurie Cumbo at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum on March 17 to create the mural “One Crown Heights,” celebrating the neighborhood’s diversity and unifying residents of all walks of life.
Photo by Louise Wateridge

This picture is worth a thousand words — and about 178 years.

Dozens of young Brooklynites and their families gathered at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights on March 17 to help paint a new mural celebrating the area’s diverse history and communities. The mural focuses on the past and present experiences of black, Caribbean, and Jewish residents of the area, which one local pol hopes will allow locals to see their neighborhood from new perspectives.

“Murals have a lasting effect on communities,” said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Fort Greene), who helped organize the project along with other local community, religious and public art groups. “It does not mark the ending, nor the beginning, but the continuation of a story.”

The massive artwork, dubbed “One Crown Heights,” includes images from the neighborhood’s historic free black community of Weeksville, the iconic West Indian Day Parade, and the 1991 Crown Heights riot that divided the local black and Jewish communities.

A team of 50 kids came up with the concept after six months of researching the area’s history and speaking with local leaders, and an artist from public mural organization Groundwell then helped them create the final design.

Project organizers are still looking for a wall in Crown Heights to mount the piece. They plan to hold a public dedication for it in late spring or early summer

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