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Mural of the story! Artists and Coney kids bring new vision to Sandy-struck garden - Brooklyn Paper

Mural of the story! Artists and Coney kids bring new vision to Sandy-struck garden

Rumba!: Santos White and his band the Romantics jam on Sept. 20 in honor of a new mural at the community garden at W. 21st Steet and Mermaid Avenue.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Fifteen Coney girls teamed up with three artists to help bring beauty back to a Mermaid Avenue community garden nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy — in the form of a dazzling new mural.

The painting at Santos White Community Garden — a green space almost obliterated during last year’s superstorm — features a blue-green mermaid, evoking both the neighborhood’s aquatic surroundings and the name of the avenue the garden sits on. Residential towers, tenements and houses rise among the sea-girl’s long tresses, along with the faces of residents and gardeners. A script beneath the image reads “Coney Island Rising.” The painting symbolizes the enduring spirit of Coney Island in the face of catastrophe.

“It’s meant to give a vision of hope moving forward,” said Sharon Polli, a spokeswoman for Groundswell, a community group that helped make the mural a reality.

Groundswell connected the Coney Islanders with affordable housing groups Astella Development and Lisc, which — along with local business owners — helped the girls brainstorm ideas for the image. Groundswell also had acclaimed street artist Swoon teach the young women her mural-making techniques. The People’s Playground youth then sketched their suggestions for the artwork, and Groundswell artists Yana Dimitrova and Jazmine Hayes helped them create a cohesive design.

After a summer of hard work, the new mural — and restored garden — served as a reminder of the neighborhood’s tenacity and resilience.

“It was a moment for everybody to pause and come together, and think on how far we’ve come since a year ago,” said Polli.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him attwitter.com/WillBredderman.
Painting power: Yana Dimitrova helped guide Jonell Santiago and Jazmine Hayes through the mural-designing process.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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