I am so over-the-moon to announce that my tree guard design for the Myrtle Avenue Plaza remodeling, organized by Myrtle Ave Brooklyn Partnership has been selected! It will be produced and installed in the Spring of 2016 on Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, between Hall Street and Emerson Place! I could not be more excited and proud!
But let me back up a little bit, I am getting ahead of myself. Earlier this year, I saw somewhere on the internet a call for artists to submit a design for a tree guard. The winning designs would be installed along the newly remodeled Myrtle Avenue, in downtown Brooklyn. The theme was to honor Brooklyn born or based artists. The call had been issued by the Myrtle Avenue Partnership, a wonderful organization dedicated to support the growth of small businesses along the Avenue, promote the neighborhood and generally improve the quality of life of the area. I was familiar with the Partnership from my time at LIU, which is located in downtown Brooklyn right alongside Myrtle Ave. I've been lucky to enjoy their Merchant Art Exhibit and attend events from their Black ARTSTORY Month.
I've called Brooklyn home for the last eight years, and I feel very attached to the neighborhood and its vibrant artistic heritage and community. I am also an avid swing dancer, very fond of jazz music, and Brooklyn has been the home of many artists that I adore and who compose the soundtrack of my days. The theme of the call definitely deeply resonated with me. The prospect of seeing one of my designs produced in iron becoming part of the neighborhood and representing my humble tribute to this place and its history got me really pumped.
I got right down to work and submitted a design I called "Trumpet Flower". It is intended as a modest honor to the great Slide Hampton (1932), Lester Bowie (1941-1999) and Branford Marsalis (1960), all masters of the horn section from different eras. Here is a small excerpt of my letter of intent:
"(...) upon reading the open call, I thought of how Brooklyn and Clinton Hill in particular have been home to so many incredible jazz musicians. As a dancer, the horn section is often times my lead into the dance, transporting me into the song, carrying the energy from the band to the audience, so I decided to try to capture this feeling.
The visual shape of a trumpet is both organic and dynamic, it has a natural quality to it which led many types of flowers to be nicknamed “trumpet flower”. This seemed to perfectly fit my project of making a tree guard inspired by the energy of a jazz horn section. As I was doing my research, I came across this quote from John Coltrane: “All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws” which seem to both validate and illuminate my goal with this project."
I got notified last week that my "Trumpet Flower" design got accepted and will be part of the new Myrtle Avenue Pedestrian Plaza project. From the Partnership website:
"The Myrtle Avenue Plaza will be a 25,000 square foot pedestrian oasis on Myrtle Avenue between Hall Street and Emerson Place in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn. A portion of the asphalt service road will be replaced with 42 trees, ornamental plants, various types of fixed and movable seating, flexible programming space, and other amenities. The Partnership will maintain and program the plaza, creating a beloved new public space in Clinton Hill."
I am so excited, happy and honored to be a part of this endeavor and will definitely keep you guys updated on the next phase of this adventure!