New mural beautifies Bushwick’s ugly Garden Playground

New mural beautifies Bushwick’s ugly Garden Playground
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Garden Playground is finally living up to its name.

Bushwick youngsters helped paint a new mural of flowers, trees, and grassy fields at the asphalt-paved park on Aug. 18, covering a drab wall with a colorful scene that neighbors say has made a world of difference.

“It’s beautiful,” said Migdalia Valle, whose 6-year-old granddaughter Gia Ecomides lent her considerable artistic talents to the work. “I know when they come back from school the kids are going to love it.”

Professional artist Paul Deo designed the masterpiece with pupils from nearby PS 120, PS 368, and the Williamsburg Charter High School, who are now helping bring it to life, according to a spokeswoman for public artwork outfit City Arts, which is organizing the project.

The organization’s head honcho said she first laid eyes on the unsightly playground across from the Bushwick Houses two years ago, and feared the barren concrete jungle was crushing young park-goers’ spirits.

“I saw kids playing and the backdrop for their games is the horrible, metal, dark wall with graffiti and ugliness,” said City Arts’ executive and creative director Tsipi Ben-Haim. “How can you play in a place like that? It puts the seed of angriness in you instead of beauty.”

The piece, entitled “Global Heartwarming,” is all about showcasing the glory of Mother Nature and inspiring onlookers to fight the rapid onset of climate change so it doesn’t disappear, she said.

And it certainly inspired Ecomides, according to Valle — the pint-sized Picasso first insisted on picking up a brush during a trip to the playground on Thursday, and now they both plan on returning this weekend so she can pitch in some more.

The final piece should be ready to unveil in October, Ben-Haim said.

Reach deputy editor Ruth Brown at rbrown@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8309. Follow her at twitter.com/rbbrown.
Brushing up: Nine-year-old Natasha Hernandez and 6-year-old Gia Ecomides help paint the mural at Garden Playground in Bushwick.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini