Gowanus underpass site of new mural
by Holly Bieler
Oct 13, 2015 | 3434 views | 0 0 comments | 123 123 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chicago artist Miguel Del Real at work on the Gowanus mural last week.
Chicago artist Miguel Del Real at work on the Gowanus mural last week.
A dreary pedestrian underpass of the Prospect Expressway is the latest site to be spruced up as part of the Gowanus Public Art Project and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Art Program.

The partnership commissioned muralist Miguel Del Real to transform the 4th Avenue eyesore last week. The once-gray stretch is now adorned with the mural “Intersections,” a 50-foot painting done by Del Real entirely with spray-paint.

Incorporating styles and a palette inspired by Aztec and Mayan design, Del Real said much of his inspiration had also come from the surrounding community, far different than his native Chicago.

“The fusion of colors and the lines coming together are inspired by the community in the sense of all the different cultures,” he said. “In Chicago, we’re much more segregated. Here in Brooklyn, you have all these different ethnicities and cultures living in one area, one block. That kind of fueled my idea.”

The painting is the latest in the Gowanus Public Art Project, a series of seven, eleven-month long public art pieces to be installed throughout the Gowanus area. Councilman Brad Lander allocated funding for the project, which is being headed by non-profits Arts Gowanus Old Stone House.

Additional support is being provided by the DOT’s Arts Program, which has worked with local community-based organizations and artists since 2008 to bring a wide variety of projects, including murals, sculptures, and short-term performances, to DOT property, including a sculpture installed in March just a few steps from Del Real’s new mural.

Other projects as part of the Gowanus Public Art Project include a seating area in the Gowanus playground designed by sculptor Michael Clyde Johnson, which was installed in early September, and a mural by artists Julia Whitney Barnes and Ruth Hofheimer adjacent to the Gowanus Canal.

Del Real, who has painted murals across Chicago, said public art can make a tangible different in communities.

“It changes people’s everyday routines,” he said. “It brightens up the space, but it also shocks them a bit or gets them thinking about something else for a moment than they would have if the piece wasn’t there.”

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