In Coney Island’s revamped amusement area, hand-painted vernacular signage and public art are rapidly being displaced by custom lighted signs or painted over. Just a few blocks away on Mermaid Avenue, mural painting by local artists is still thriving. Walking from Stillwell Avenue to West 28th Street, ATZ came across work on almost every block, including a Funny Face touting “Parking for Puertoricans Only,” murals memorializing lost friends and a community art project celebrating growth and diversity.
One block north of Surf Avenue, Mermaid Avenue is the neighborhood’s shopping district, populated with stores, restaurants, churches and community organizations such as Astella Development and South Brooklyn Youth Consortium. As Woody Guthrie famously says in his song “Mermaid’s Avenue” written in 1950: “Mermaid Avenue that’s the street where all colors of goodfolks meet.”
The mural pictured above dedicated to the memory of Jose Chin is painted on a wall outside of Five Deli Grocery on West 28th Street and Mermaid Avenue. Coney Island artist Kwamin Serguson finished it on April 21, 2012, two years after Jose’s passing at age 22, according to an article in Astella Action News. The mural is one of several poignant memorials to lost youth that can be found on the sides of buildings.
Vision of Growth, created by Groundswell in collaboration with South Brooklyn Youth Consortium, is on West 27th Street at Mermaid Avenue. The 15 by 80 foot acrylic on cinderblock mural features images of Coney Island landmarks and highlights the diversity of the community. The project was part of Groundswell’s 2008 Summer Leadership Institute. “Artists Alex Pimienta and Jessica Poplawski worked with a team of youth to create a colorful mural celebrating the people, changing communities, and future of Coney Island,” says the project description.
The young mural artists from the South Brooklyn Youth Consortium are Mohamed Abdelrahman, Michael Coleman, Shani Coleman, Nicholas Collazo, Ahmathya Edwards, Mashayach Edwards, Michael Ferrera, Angel Garcia, Andrea Gil, Doris Huey, Emily Lew, Carla Pierre Paul and Ken Zheng.
Related posts on ATZ…
May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times
March 2, 2012: Coney Island Murals by Street Artists Await Their Fate
February 5, 2012: Botched Job: Coney Island Art Exiled by Thor Equities
June 1, 2011: Photo Album: Street Art Down by the Coney Island Bowery