c. Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous

Artists Selected for Chisholm Monument

April 24, 2019

In an exciting announcement for the Prospect Park community, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and women.nyc announced that artist team Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous has been selected to design the park’s new monument to Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to serve in Congress and a Brooklyn hero.

“Prospect Park Alliance is thrilled to welcome this important monument to Shirley Chisholm to the park,” said Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance. “It will be the focal point of the Alliance’s Ocean Avenue and Parkside Avenue entrance and perimeter restoration, and we look forward to working with the artist team to create a beloved destination for our diverse community to enjoy in Brooklyn’s Backyard.”

Renderings released show the team’s proposal for the monument that will grace Parkside Plaza. The design, called Our Destiny, Our Democracy, was selected through the City’s Percent for Art program. In the coming months, with additional community input and public review, the design will be developed to best suit the public and the park landscape. The monument is the first to be commissioned as part of the She Built NYC program, which seeks to expand representation of women in the City’s public art collection. The Shirley Chisholm monument will be installed in Prospect Park by the end of 2020.

“She Built NYC is transforming public art in our City by honoring the contributions of women who helped build and shape it,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s dynamic leadership and activism continues to inspire all who learn her story and her service deserves public recognition. This artwork will be bright, bold, and makes a statement – just like Chisholm herself.” 

This monument, which was announced in late 2018, will be a critical part of Prospect Park Alliance’s $9.5 million restoration of the Parkside and Ocean Avenue perimeters and entrance to the park, which is made possible through $6.7 million in funding by Mayor de Blasio, $2 million in funding from Borough President Eric L. Adams and $750,000 in funding from Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene. This large-scale restoration by the Alliance will include new sidewalks and paving, new historic lighting and street furniture, the planting of new trees and the addition of a protected bike lane. This project continues the Alliance’s work to restore the perimeter of the east side of the park, including the Flatbush Avenue perimeter, which is also being funded by the Borough President, as well as Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Dr. Mathieu Eugene. See more on the Capital Projects Tracker.

c. Still from “Chisholm ‘72” from Realside Productions

Chisholm Monument Designs Unveiled

March 27, 2019

Make your voice heard!

View and comment on the five preliminary artist proposals for the new monument to Shirley Chisholm in Prospect Park, the first artwork to be commissioned as part of the She Built NYC initiative to bring more monuments honoring women to New York City’s public spaces.

This open call for feedback on the proposals by artists Firelei Báez, La Vaughn Belle, Tanda Francis, Mickalene Thomas and the team of Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous will continue through Sunday, March 31.

She Built NYC kicked off in June 2018 with an invitation for public nominations, and Shirley Chisholm was selected in November in recognition of her role as a political trailblazer who was both the first black Congresswoman and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. The monument is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2020 and will be installed at the Parkside entrance to Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

This monument will be the centerpiece of Prospect Park Alliance’s restoration of the Parkside and Ocean Avenue perimeters and entrance to the park,made possible through funding by Mayor de Blasio, Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene. The Alliance will improve the sidewalks and paving, add new historic lighting, street furniture, trees and plantings. There will also be a new protected bike lane. This project is expected to be completed by Fall 2021.

Learn more and view the designs at women.nyc.

c. Still from “Chisholm ‘72” from Realside Productions

A Monument to a Trailblazer Comes to Prospect Park

November 30, 2018

On U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of her election to Congress, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue joined First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen in Prospect Park to make a momentous announcement.

The group held a press conference at the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to the Park to announce that a monument to Representative Shirley Chisholm, the political trailblazer who was both the first black Congresswoman and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, will be erected at that location, where the Alliance is undertaking a significant restoration as part of our work improving the Park’s eastern perimeter.

“As Brooklyn’s Backyard, we are deeply honored to welcome this important monument to a true Brooklyn hero, Shirley Chisholm,” said Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Prospect Park in partnership with the city. “We thank the Mayor, First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Department of Cultural Affairs for selecting Prospect Park as the site for this commemoration, which will serve as a critical focal point of our restoration of the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to Prospect Park.”

chisholm_event.jpg

A local hero, Chisholm was the first black Congresswoman in U.S. history, and both a leader and an advocate for residents of Brooklyn and the country at large. Her notable achievements in Congress included working to expand access to food stamps, helping to pass Title IX and extending minimum wage requirements to domestic workers. In 1972, Rep. Chisholm became the first black major-party candidate to run for President of the United States. This is the first monument commissioned as part of She Built NYC, an initiative that sought public nominations to honor the New York City women who have changed history.

“Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s legacy of leadership and activism has paved the way for thousands of women to seek public office,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “She is exactly the kind of New York woman whose contributions should be honored with representation in our public spaces, and that is now being realized with She Built NYC.”
 
“Shirley Chisholm was an American original—a fearless trailblazer who broke barriers and had an unrivaled commitment to justice,” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Economic Development. “From standing up to Congressional leadership to taking bold bipartisan action, Rep. Chisholm made sure everyone knew she was ‘unbought and unbossed.’ There is no one more deserving than Rep. Chisholm of a statue honoring her life and legacy; may New Yorkers of all backgrounds be inspired by her story.”

The site of this monument will serve as a critical focal point for the Alliance’s $9.5 million restoration of the Parkside and Ocean Avenue perimeters and entrance to Prospect Park, which includes $6.7 million in funding by Mayor de Blasio, $2 million in funding from Borough President Eric L. Adams, and $750,000 in funding from Council Member Mathieu Eugene. This large-scale restoration by the Alliance will include new sidewalks and paving, new historic lighting and street furniture, the planting of new trees and the addition of a protected bike lane. 

As the steward of Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park Alliance is deeply honored to welcome this important monument to a true Brooklyn icon. Read more about this announcement from the Mayor’s office.

Courtesy of Fitzhugh Karol

Art in the Park: Fitzhugh Karol

January 16, 2018

Park visitors may have noticed a few large additions to Prospect Park’s landscape: two colorful steel sculptures inside the Grand Army Plaza and Bartel-Pritchard Square entrances. These abstract and playful shapes are the creation of local artist Fitzhugh Karol, whose works are on view in Prospect Park and Tappen Park in Staten Island through the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program, in collaboration with Prospect Park Alliance We spoke to Karol about his influences, process and having his pieces on display in his own community.

What is your connection with Brooklyn, Prospect Park and Prospect Park Alliance?

I have lived in Park Slope for 11 years and have spent countless hours in Prospect Park, I really regard it as my backyard. It’s the most dynamic park in all the five boroughs because it has the scale, the romance and the variation that no other park does. I’ve just recently connected with Prospect Park Alliance through this project and now intend to support that organization in any way I can, and I love that they have been making a push for public art in the park over the past few years.

What inspires you as an artist and what, specifically, did you draw on in these works?

Interpreting the landscape has always been the strongest force behind my work. I am especially interested in the human imprint on landscape through the ages. The works on view in Prospect Park use arching forms, cutouts and divided spaces to promote playful interaction as viewers move within, around and through them. Searches at Grand Army Plaza was conceived to relate to the Soldier and Sailors Arch. Reaches at Bartel Pritchard entrance was conceived to be even more playful: the reach of the overhanging arm follows the roadway, as if propelling itself counter-clockwise around the park loop, something I’ve done many times on foot.

Tell us about the process for the creation and fabrication of Searches and Reaches.

These works started out as cardboard models—I’m constantly working this way, and as the models pile up I pull out favorites and make them into small sculptures in wood or metal. I then scaled the models up to roughly 20-foot heights. Once we had the shapes scaled, we laid out each massive plane on a grid of steel sheets, drew the shapes and cut them out by hand with a plasma cutter. Each plane then got welded together and we bent and attached the edge banding that gives the sculptures their rigidity.

What aspect of this installation is most exciting to you?

The scale and the locations of these works are the most exciting parts of the project to me. When I conceived of the installation two years ago, I walked around the park and dreamt of how the sculptures might take shape. And now, to have my largest works to date on display in my neighborhood, and to have so much interactivity within my community, is thrilling.

See Karol’s pieces, Searches and Reaches, on view in Prospect Park, now through Spring 2018.

Prospect Park 150: The Connective Project On View July 7-17

July 6, 2017

Prospect Park Alliance, AREA4 and Architect Suchi Reddy Present 150th Anniversary Public Art Installation Bringing Together Diverse Communities that Love Prospect Park

Add your pinwheel to the display during our free, pinwheel-making workshops Thursdays + Fridays from 4-8 pm, and Saturdays + Sundays from 2-6 pm. View our online gallery and learn more about the project!

Prospect Park Alliance, AREA4 and Suchi Reddy of Reddymade Architecture & Design debut a large-scale public art installation in Prospect Park on the occasion of the Park’s 150th Anniversary.

On view July 7-17 2017, The Connective Project transforms Prospect Park’s Rose Garden—a little-known landscape in the Park’s northeast corner—into an immersive, engaging and ever-growing display. The installation features artwork, photographs, verse and prose submitted by emerging artists, notable Brooklynites and the diverse communities that consider the Park “Brooklyn’s Backyard.” During the installation, the public will be invited to take part in making additional pinwheels to add to the display during select hours.

“Prospect Park Alliance is thrilled to be working with the team at AREA4 and Suchi Reddy on this whimsical and dynamic public installation,” said Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance. “When we set out to plan our major events celebrating the Park’s 150th, our key goal was the engage the community in the celebration, which The Connective Project achieves in a beautiful and innovative way.”

Background on the Connective Project

 The Connective Project is composed of more than 7,000 individually designed pinwheels, printed with work submitted by the public. The installation creates an evolving, undulating wave of color and beauty that blankets the two-and-half acre plot, which is the focus of future restoration by the Alliance. Reddy chose pinwheels because they are universally loved objects of childhood memories, much like public parks, and evoke nature in their movement attuned to wind and natural forces.

“Our inspiration behind the Connective Project was to bring together the broader Brooklyn community with the Park in a unique way at the level the 150th anniversary deserves,” said Rory McEvoy, president of AREA4. “This is an elegant and inclusive way for people to add their unique voice to a collective undertaking: a reflection of the Park’s usage and the Alliance’s care of it.”

The installation was conceived as an architectural form that would immerse and engage the community,” said Reddy, who has long been an advocate of architecture for the people. “Architecture is accessible and tangible and easily translatable. We wanted to create something that would initiate a dialogue about the importance of public spaces, which we feel is so important right now, but also something that generates wonder and play.”

Reddy’s vision was very much influenced by the beauty and vision of Prospect Park’s designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who in 1867 transformed 585 acres of rural terrain into the urban retreat that is Brooklyn’s Backyard. Now 150 years later, the Rose Garden will be experienced again in grand fashion, full of color and whimsy, a nod to the creative spirit that pervades Brooklyn and Reddy’s practice.

The pinwheels are constructed of weather-resistant, compostable paper made from stone dust. The community engagement process began with an open call to artists to submit works for a chance to be selected by a panel, consisting of representatives from the Brooklyn Council of the Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, BRIC Arts & Media, PIONEER WORKS, MoCADA, and Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

Artist Ansel Oommen was selected as the winner of the open call. Prints of his piece, Chitin & Furanocoumarin, will be on sale in the Brooklyn Museum gift shop during the installation, along with works by the top ten finalists. Pioneer Works will be featuring the winning artist’s work as well as displaying the pinwheels of the top ten finalists and 20 runners up as part of their Second Sundays event taking place on August 13th. This event will also feature pinwheel making in the Pioneer Works’ garden.

The Connective Project is funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, with additional support from NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and GSB Digital.

Monument to the Unelected

October 5, 2016

NYC Parks, together with the Prospect Park Alliance and Historic House Trust, is pleased to welcome Nina Katchadourian’s Monument to the Unelected to Prospect Park’s Lefferts Historic House. This temporary installation, consisting of 58 signs bearing the names of the losing candidates from every presidential election in American history, will be on view from November 5 through 13, 2016, on the house’s lawn facing Flatbush Avenue. The installation coincides with this year’s presidential election, and once the results are official, it will eventually include a sign with the name of the loser of the 2016 Presidential Election. The Alliance will present a mock election and programming for youth at the house on Election Day.  

Katchadourian was originally commissioned by the Scottsdale Museum of Art to create a new work around the time of the 2008 presidential election and became interested in the plastic election signs sprouting up on front lawns, in vacant lots, and at busy intersections around Scottsdale, Arizona. She points out that “these markers tend to crop up in the weeks leading up to an election, after which they disappear, with some of the names going on to take office and others being largely forgotten.” The signs also struck her as an American tradition of sorts and with an aesthetic all their own.

Working with designer Evan Gaffney, Katchadourian created a series of signs bearing the names of every person who ever ran for president and lost. Each sign was made in a contemporary design vernacular, even if it advertised a candidate from a previous century. None of the signs are designs that were used in the candidates’ actual election campaigns. Many of the signs borrow directly from the designs of signs that she documented in Scottsdale; others were modeled on signs seen in other parts of the country. All the signs are printed on corrugated plastic using similar commercial production methods as common election signage.

This project is supported by the Historic House Trust’s Contemporary Art Partnerships program and the New York State Council on the Arts. 

Art in the Park: Art Slope

August 30, 2016

Prospect Park Alliance is partnering with the Park Slope Civic Council to bring a new multi-arts festival to Park Slope. Taking place over nine days, from September 17 through September 25, Art Slope will unite artists from all over Brooklyn as they display their work, which speaks to issues such as sustainability, politics and social happenings.

In cooperation with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, ten installations will be in Prospect Park. With works ranging from sculpture to painting, film to performance art, live music and sound installations, all kinds of art will be available to interact with and learn from throughout Park Slope.

The festival will kick off with a “Wearable Art Walk” at Washington Park on September 17 at noon. Artist Maria de Los Angeles has created a line of wearable paper dresses reflecting social, historical, and political issues affecting the children of undocumented immigrants, which she will wear and discuss on the catwalk.

Art Slope events are free and open to all ages. Please visit artslope.nyc for more information.

PPA Profiles: Carole Eisner

August 18, 2016

Carole Eisner, the award-winning artist behind this year’s popular Art in the Parks exhibition, has shown her sculptures all over the world. Her monumental works—created from I-beams twisted into lyrical forms—have graced public spaces from Albany to Asia, and this spring landed in Brooklyn.

Four of Eisner’s sculptures are placed around the Park and can be found at Grand Army Plaza, Litchfield Villa, Bartel-Pritchard Square and the Peninsula. Ranging from six to 17 feet tall, the sculptures are intended to evoke line drawings, and are simultaneously playfully light and solidly industrial. In Eisner’s mind, the works do not represent nature, but are intended to complement it.

Growing up near Joyce Killmer Park in the Bronx, Eisner was always drawn to art. She received a Mademoiselle Award for Fashion Design in 1961, and worked as a fashion designer before establishing a painting career. Throughout her life, Eisner has continued to explore new mediums and fabrication methods. She became interested in the possibilities of I-beams while working with a steel manufacturer in Connecticut, and has spent the last decade constructing sculptures like those found around the Park.

Upon being invited to display her work in Prospect Park, Eisner chose locations for each sculpture in conjunction with NYC Parks and the Prospect Park Alliance. Each piece reflects its location, and highlights the flow and beauty of the natural landscape.

These popular works will be on display until May 2017, and park visitors have already taken a shine to them. To Eisner, this is just how it should be. The works are meant to be in nature, and she believes they are enlivened by the people around them.

Eisner and her daughter work together at the gallery Susan Eley Fine Art. To celebrate the Prospect Park installation, the two will host free tours of the Park on September 20 at 11 am and 1 pm (with a rain date of September 27). RSVPs are required in advance, please contact Susan Eley Fine Art. 

Art in the Park: Carole Eisner

May 20, 2016

In partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks project, the Prospect Park Alliance is proud to present a public exhibition of sculpture by award-winning artist Carole Eisner. Four monumental works, created from I-beams twisted into elegant forms, will be on display through 2016.

“The Prospect Park Alliance has a long history of partnering with NYC Parks to present public art, because of the important role art plays in engaging communities and enhancing the Park, which is the heart of our mission”, said Sue Donoghue, President of the Prospect Park Alliance. “The landscapes selected for this exhibition are ideally suited to the elegance and fluidity of Carole Eisner’s work, and we look forward to debuting them in the Park.”

The works beacon visitors to key sites throughout the Park, that were chosen to highlight how art can complement the natural landscape. The sculptures range from six to seventeen feet tall, and can be found at Grand Army Plaza, Litchfield Villa, Bartel-Pritchard Square and the Prospect Park Peninsula. Visit our events calendar for information about where to find each of the sculptures.