Murals Helping Kids Turn Destruction Into Beauty

In Brooklyn’s Park Slope, a number of teenagers are showing the rest of us what giving back looks like. Groundswell is a community mural service organization that is hosting the Recovery Diaspora Project. This project, created by the street artist Swoon is bringing together kids from all five of NYC’s boroughs with the purpose of painting their Sandy stories from the terrible hurricane that ravaged the area a number of months ago.

The murals will grace the walls of five of the hardest hit area including Coney Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways and Staten Island. In addition to the murals they plan to put in each location, the organization will combine elements of their murals for a piece on the Houston Bowery Wall for the one year anniversary of the storm on October 29.

As lead artist Yana Dimitrova said, “When it comes to Sandy, we’ve talked about the difference in how men and women are often affected by storms. Women are often tasked with taking care of more than just themselves.”

As Al Huang wrote on the National Resources Defense Council’s Switchboard blog, “The grim reality is that the storm disproportionately impacted our city’s most vulnerable populations—low-income people, people of color, and the elderly—in communities that are already overburdened with an unfair share of toxic pollution and health problems.”

The Recovery Diaspora Project is trying to bring beauty where there was destruction. As Tasleem Sheikh, a 17 year old senior at Brooklyn High School of the Arts said, “No one else is going to make our point. We want to keep our voices heard and speak to what really happened.”

As Shawntell James said about the project, “This is one way for people to express that we’re stronger than Sandy.”