Mural makeover! New artwork wraps around Cortelyou Library

Dull no more! Artist Kathryne Hall put the finishing touches on her mural at the Cortelyou Library in Ditmas Park on Thursday — and was already getting glowing reviews from passersby on Cortelyou Road.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

You can’t scribble in the books you check out at the Cortelyou Library, but you can paint on the institution’s walls.

The Brooklyn Public Library got a free, colorful upgrade this week after it gave Ditmas Park artist Kathryne Hall the OK to paint a mural on its Cortelyou Road branch.

The $6,000 “Tumble” — a string of cerulean triangles that wrap around the building at Argyle Road — was funded entirely by donations solicited on Kickstarter.com, but the most surprising part of this project was the library’s willingness to field her idea in the first place, Hall said.

“To pitch something like this to a public institution and have it actually be embraced off the bat is a great example of how Brooklyn has this wonderful do-it-yourself and artistic spirit,” Hall said as she prepared for the mural’s unveiling, which is scheduled for this afternoon.

Hall says she hopes the abstract design will bring life to the building’s drab brick exterior.

“Everything should have exciting visual rhythms,” she said. “The mural isn’t a portrait or a scene, it is something that not only excites the walls but enlivens the space. I like to imagine it’s blowing up against the building or that it might blow somewhere else.”

Representatives from the library said they were thrilled with the mural, though Hall has agreed to power wash it away in August.

“The library is seeking innovative ways to help artists produce their work and share it with new audiences,” said Brooklyn Public Library Executive Director Linda Johnson. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to display Kathryne Hall’s wonderful mural and we hope it will inspire Brooklynites of all ages to tap into their creativity.”

Ditmas Park residents say they hope the mural would stay on the library past August.

“There’s movement in it. And the kids will love it!” said Ottilie Valverde, who grew up around the corner.

But library officials would not say whether or not the project — which Hall painted with the help of students from James Madison High School using an environmentally-friendly paint donated by Green Depot in Greenpoint — will stay.

“We hope that it will inspire others well beyond August,” a library spokesman said.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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