Council Member Vincent Gentile, seniors, school and community leaders celebrated the completion of the “Generations” mural co-designed and painted by students at McKinley Junior High School and neighborhood volunteers on May 14th.
The public art installation honors six generations of immigrant diversity in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, while inviting ongoing neighborliness in an ever-evolving neighborhood. Coordinated by 20/20 Vision for Schools and funded by Council Member Gentile with support from Crossroads Christian Church and the Storefront Art Center, this unique partnership empowered art students to embrace the opportunities their specialized talents create to beautify the world around them.
Jeremy Del Rio, executive director of 20/20 Vision for Schools said: “In selecting a junior high school with students capable of producing a project like this, McKinley was an obvious choice. Their diverse student body attends classes in a veritable art museum inside their own building and created by their own hands, with instruction from outstanding art teachers. Our goal was to empower many of those same students to share their talents and creativity beyond the school’s four walls.”
Principal Janice Geary welcomed the partnership as an opportunity to raise the bar of possibility for her students. “Projects like this give students the confidence to see themselves as positive change agents in their homes, neighborhoods, and classrooms. When students embrace their own capacity to create lasting and beautiful change, public schools and their surrounding communities thrive.”
Councilman Gentile praised the work of the McKinley students: “These students instill life and vitality into our neighborhood every single day. This mural will stand as a reminder of what is possible when communities and schools come together with students for sustainable change. I am proud to support projects that nurture a vision of community engagement at this age, and propel children into lifetimes of service and leadership.”
20/20′s Art Director and Master Class instructor Sam Wisneski added: “We believe that every student is an artist, and their lives are their canvases. Whatever their medium — whether paint or dance or math or science or literature or something else — we aspire to unleash their capacity to create enduring beauty no matter their life circumstances.”