First-of-its-kind art installation at Prospect Park Bandshell encourages viewers to look inward

“The Need You Know it is A Letting Light” by Sarah E. Brook is on display at the Prospect Park Bandshell through May.
Photo by Sebastian Bach

A new multi-sensory art installation at the Prospect Park Bandshell welcomes the viewer to discover more about themselves, while beautifying Brooklyn’s Backyard and playing with perception, according to its creator.

The Prospect Park Alliance partnered with arts organization BRIC and the New York City Parks Department to present Lena Horne Bandshell’s premiere sculpture and mural installation, titled “The Need You Know it is A Letting Light.”

The piece, designed by Brooklyn-based sculptor and installation artist Sarah E. Brook, first opened to the public on Oct. 15, and will remain on view through May 5, 2023.

“It was definitely a dream to eventually be able to do a piece there,” said Brook, who was approached by BRIC about submitting a design for the Bandshell.

Jenny Gerow, curator of the mural and contemporary art curator at BRIC, said the piece is “less of a declaration of oneself through figuration and instead a deep desire through form to engage and open up a discussion about how one’s identity is formed.”

A look inside of the installation, located at the Prospect Park Bandshell.Photo by Sebastian Bach

Brook agreed, hoping their work will help some “find peace” — even as seasons change in Brooklyn.

“I do feel like my pieces are offerings for folks, and are sights for people hopefully to find some alignment, find some resonance, find some peace, be curious, or play, or experience something perceptually,” they said.

“The Need You Know it is A Letting Light” is meant to be more than a piece of artwork to look at, Brook added — it’s meant to be interacted with.

“I’m trying to create spaces for people to have perceptual experiences that can be interesting psychically, or psychologically, or emotionally, as well as physically,” they told Brooklyn Paper. “And I think that the pieces I create are a way to try to offer that to myself and then also to other people.”

Brook had intentions for the installation, saying, “It’s trying to create a world where you’re thinking about perception thinking about where your body is placed and how you’re oriented, you’re thinking about angles and light and movement and depth, and for me the experience of encountering all those things in a physical space, it just enters into my psychological and emotional space as well, in a way that feels really helpful and healing and really opens things up.”

This is the first time the Lena Horne Bandshell has ever displayed a sculpture and a mural together, giving Brook a unique opportunity to create something new and exciting.

When deciding what to create, Brook wanted to focus on “utilizing more of the dimensionality of the sight.”

“I knew that I wanted to do something on the stage, and I knew that I wanted it to relate to something on the bandshell,” Brook told Brooklyn Paper, adding that they were aiming to create something that engaged and connected the bandshell, sculpture and light. 

“I wanted it to be bright too for the winter,” said creator Sarah E. Brook of the piece, which they hope will play with viewers’ perception.Photo by Sebastian Bach

The colors of the piece are striking, bringing a vibrancy to the park that hadn’t been there before.

“I wanted it to be bright too for the winter,” Brook said, adding that the piece is also intended to contribute to its surroundings. “It will continue to evolve as the seasons change … I like that too, I like having the outdoor works be responsive to the elements like that.” 

Brook was also intentional in naming their piece, saying, “The Need You Know; referring to a desire or an impulse or an inclination or an intuition, and then, It is A Letting Light; referring to following those inclinations.”