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Flatbush Junction BID awarded funds for new street artwork

Art attractions: The area that comprises the Flatbush Junction will see more art initiatives thanks to $30,000 in funds from the city, said Kenneth Mbonu, the executive director of the Flatbush Junction business improvement district.
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They’re doing it the art way.

The Flatbush Junction Business Improvement District has been awarded $30,000 in city funding, which officials plan to use to place new artworks on its busy commercial streets in an effort to boost business.

“We’re looking to create more art installations for the Junction and put them on display as a way to ignite our local businesses to think outside the box and embrace change,” said Business Improvement District executive director Kenneth Mbonu. “In a sense they have to change because the changes are a way to look at and identify new clientele.”

The move will be the latest program sponsored by the business service group to attract new shops and eateries and retain and support existing ones. It follows a series of “pop-up” art shows, titled “Intersection at the Junction,” staged in local businesses in January to bring new attention to the ongoing commercial gentrification in the district.

The funds are part of $1 million in annual support grants allocated to business improvement districts across the city. Mbonu said that after much discussion, the Flatbush Junction group, whose area includes the Brooklyn College campus, “came up with the art initiative. Art makes the loudest noise, because it connects with students.”

He’s also optimistic that art displays will be embraced by local residents and merchants who may be worried about the long-term effects of gentrification.

“I’m a strong believer in solving other problems with design,” Mbonu said. “It can be used to solve a lot of issues because design will address challenges all around us and also make better use of the space,” he said. “Tenants living in the environment will go out and do more because art has a way of addressing social issues — I really believe that.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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