Art to become a yearly project for SVA students
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Students at the School of Visual Arts will soon be working on a project to spruce up Stuyvesant Cove Park with murals. The project is being organized through a community service program aimed at getting students more involved with the neighborhood since the university recently opened a new building at 340 East 24th Street.
Regina Degnan, a student advisor at SVA’s International Student Office, explained the project at a recent meeting for Community Board 6’s parks committee, whose members were supportive of the idea.
Dina Elkan, director of communications and events at Solar 1, was also at the meeting and said the area frequently has problems with graffiti and artwork would help combat that issue. Although the pieces will only be completed with acrylic paint and aren’t meant to be permanent, Elkan said that they would be looking into coating the completed pieces with a graffiti-resistant finish to discourage vandalism.
Committee members asked if there was a particular reason the project wouldn’t be a permanent installation and Elkan said that a permanent installation was too “ambitious” at this point because the location is usually so graffiti-prone and Degnan noted that because of this, SVA felt that it was a good opportunity to instead make it an annual project as a way for students to connect with the community.
“SVA is new to the neighborhood and wants to contribute to the community, so we would also cover the paint cost,” she added.
Each student will be responsible for a single panel, to be designed with the theme of butterflies and birds, showing the area as a place where birds seek refuge and monarchs feed. The panels run along the 18th Street exit of the FDR, adjacent to the park.
Eight students were present at the meeting but 13 will be participating in the program, which is open to both international and US undergraduates. The project is one component of the Cultural Partner Program, which aims to enhance cultural awareness.
Freshmen through seniors are participating in the program, with many majoring in illustration or graphic design. The students at the meeting explained that they chose to participate in the program because it gives them the chance to give back to the community using their particular expertise in art.
Students began sketching and chalking out the drawings on the panel last weekend and will begin painting them this coming Saturday.