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Bronxdale underpass to have murals

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Vandals who like to tag the Bronxdale Avenue overpass near Popular Street may soon think twice before they deface a wall.

The Morris Park community is coming together to draw on the ideas of its children by sponsoring an art contest that will culminate in young people painting visual representations of what the neighborhood means to them on the train bridge abutments that travellers see as they enter and leave Morris Park on their way to and from E. Tremont Avenue.

The Morris Park Merchant Alliance, The Morris Park Community Association, Senator Jeff Klein, and Bronx Council on the Arts are joining together on the project, with the BCA providing a professional muralist to work with students on the poster and mural contest, Senator Klein said at a press conference near the underpass on Thursday, November 10.

“Together, we are going to replace this eyesore with a source of community pride,” Klein said. “I can’t think of a better way to show the creativity and vibrancy of the Morris Park community than to have this entryway decorated by our youth.”

The initiative is a call for students to submit their artwork through local schools before January 6, 2012, Klein said. Schools participating are P.S. 108, P.S. 83, St. Francis Xavier, St. Clare’s, St. Raymond Elementary School, and P.S./M.S. 498. Joining Klein at the press conference announcing the initiative were businessman Mark Gjonaj, Morris Park Community Association president Al D’Angelo, P.S. 108 principal Charles Sperrazza, and BCA’s Americo Casinao, among others.

“We distributed the flyers to each classroom teacher and will discuss it at grade conferences with teachers and make classroom visits,” Sperrazza said. “We are looking to get a core group of children who are really interested involved in the project and then have the teachers facilitate.”

The project is open to all elementary and high school students in Morris Park, who will be required to submit a design no larger than 32” by 32” accompanied by two to three sentences, organizers said. The designs could include themes like the history and heritage of Morris Park, sites and landmarks, symbols of the community, and what Morris Park means to the young person, and those designs would be incorporated into the final mural, Klein said. Four winning design posters will be selected in the spring, Klein said.

“The kids will be having a design contest and then we are going to be painting the murals,” Casiano said. “The artist will be giving them 90 minute classes for about 10 sessions, and during the last five sessions they will be painting the actual mural. We expect to be painting in the spring.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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