Feast for the eyes: BPL installs teens’ decorative window screens at interim Sunset Park branch • Brooklyn Paper

Feast for the eyes: BPL installs teens’ decorative window screens at interim Sunset Park branch

Window to the arts: Students from the Center for Family Life, a Sunset Park-based do-good organization, collaborated with architects from the Leroy Street Studio to design sculptural window screens for Sunset Park’s interim branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Leroy Street Studio

These windows are something to look at!

Brooklyn Public Library bigwigs on Dec. 13 revealed a set of decorative window screens that local teens created to adorn panes of the system’s interim Sunset Park branch.

The young adults — all of whom participate in programs run by local do-good group the Center for Family Life — worked with professional architects to craft the screens, which the library system’s president said capture the spirit of the ever-changing neighborhood.

“A successful library reflects the community it serves,” said Linda Johnson. “We are delighted to present the artwork of the student designers, which captures their vision for the neighborhood today and in the future.”

The exterior adornments feature outlines of birds, trees, books, numbers, and buildings made of corrugated plastic, which are overlaid on window screens made of wood and scrim, a lightweight woven fabric.

Johnson and Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca joined the young Picassos and their mentors to unveil the new screens at the interim branch — which opened in May inside a former courtroom in a now Police Department–owned building at Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street, which also contains offices for the local community board.

Five architects with Leroy Street Studios — the Manhattan-based firm that also designed the interim library space — this summer worked with 15 Center teens for six weeks to design and create the screens, which adorn 10 windows, reading-room rep Fritzi Bodenheimer said.

And the teenagers’ passion for their neighborhood clearly shines through in the finished products, according to a partner at the architectural firm.

“We are moved by the energy these students brought to the project,” said Shawn Watts. “Their work not only embodies an element of curiosity and joy but, inspired by the neighborhood and their own experience, also creates an imprint of Sunset Park itself.”

The main Sunset Park library at Fourth Avenue and 51st Street in April closed its doors to make way for a massive redevelopment, which will result in a branch roughly half the size of a football field, with a dedicated space for teens, a community room, and outlet-equipped tables when it opens sometime in 2021, Bodenheimer said.

The new library building will also boast 49 permanently affordable apartments — including nine units earmarked for domestic-abuse survivors — above its stacks, she said.

Police Department brass will determine the future of the interim space once the main branch’s renovations are complete, according to Bodenheimer, who said that the students’ screens are intended only for the windows at the temporary location.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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