FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thompson & Bender
The Winbrook Crisis Advisory Board to Unveil Two New Public Art Murals at White Plains Housing Authority
Vibrant Public Art is Installed by ArtsWestchester Teaching Artist Miguel Cossio,
Artist Ikiyan Chestnut and the Residents at the White Plains Housing Authority
White Plains, N.Y. (September 22, 2020) – The need for the arts remains stronger than ever during this national pandemic, time of divisiveness and political strife. In recent months, Winbrook Crisis Advisory Board, the White Plains Housing Authority and ArtsWestchester have partnered to continue to bring creative arts experiences to housing authority residents. At a time of heightened anxiety, overcrowding in housing, financial hardship, unemployment and continued persistent racial injustice, the arts provide a voice to those who feel minimized and engage youth in positive experiences. Two temporary murals have been designed by young artists at the housing authority on the construction walls at Winbrook/Brookfield Commons site and the community is celebrating them this week. The first mural is all about social justice, community building and love and respect for all people. The second mural displays a colorful abstract style adding joy and energy to the surrounding landscape.
White Plains Housing Authority Executive Director, Mack Carter explains, “The children of White Plains Public Housing are grieving for all who have tragically lost their lives due to racial injustice; their artwork is an expression of what our children feel is the need for peace, harmony and good will towards our fellow man and that time is now.”
Bernie Thombs, President of Bernard Raymond Inc. says, “The youth at the White Plains Housing Authority have created a gift of art to the community thanks to the multi-diverse Winbrook Crisis Advisory Board that includes Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. Guided by professional artist Miguel Cossio, the kids painted vibrant and colorful murals that can be seen by anyone who walks or drives by the construction site.” He continues, “ArtsWestchester has once again helped contribute to the arts education and well-being of this community. The value of this program is extremely significant to those who live and work in Winbrook, especially since COVID-19 has had such a negative effect on all of us.”
Housing Authority resident and artist Ikiyan Chestnut explains, “Working on the murals with the community was a fun experience. The input and ideas of everyone involved is what made it unique. This project showed me how art can be a tool to communicate, empower, uplift, and unite people of all ages and walks of life.”
CEO, Janet Langsam explains, “ArtsWestchester is committed to providing creative opportunities to those who have little or no access to the arts. During this uncertain time, the arts provide a way to help and heal people of all ages. These murals are an expression of what these kids are going through at this moment. Our relationship with the Advisory Board and the White Plains Housing Authority has allowed the arts to become a viable component in the re-envisioning of public housing, bringing communities together for a shared positive experience. Public art is especially powerful in bringing people together in a safe outdoor setting in a way that is creative and collaborative.” She continues, “We are all excited to unveil these murals designed and created by the residents of Winbrook Housing/Brookfield Commons.”
With funding from New York State’s Council on the Arts Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, White Plains Hospital, Con Edison and Trinity Financial, Inc., ArtsWestchester has provided this opportunity for youth to engage in safe and creative activities during the summer months. Donned in masks and maintaining 6ft of distance, youth, families and artists Miguel Cossio and Ikiyan Chestnut worked together to create two murals that speak to social justice and community pride through the power of art. The project
brought the White Plains residents together to share ideas and lend a hand to beautify their home. The murals are created on the construction barriers perpendicular to South Lexington Avenue behind the Prelude Building and will remain a fixture for the next 15-18 months. In-kind donations for the murals have been provided by Hudson Meridian Construction Group.
A community celebration of the new murals will take place off of South Lexington Ave., at the construction barricades nearest to The Prelude apartment building on Friday, September 25, 11am-1pm with a rain date of Tuesday, September 29 from 11am-1pm. Masks are required at this event.
About The Winbrook Crisis Advisory Board
The Winbrook Crisis Advisory Board is a group of concerned community, city and county officials working to bring additional services to the White Plains Housing Authority sites.
For more than 50 years ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest private not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership vision and support to ensure the availability accessibility and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts, including public art; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives organizations and the community. Artsw.org