New Groundswell mural to put brakes on DWIs

Groundswell artists work meticulously on the ‘DOT-Stop DWI Mural’ which raises awareness on the serious implications driving while intoxiated can present to both individuals and the community.
Photo courtesy of Groundswell

A new mural in the south Bronx will soon open many eyes to the serious consequences of driving while intoxicated.

Collaborating with the New York City Department of Transportation and Bogopa Service Corporation, Groundswell youth artists enrolled in the Summer Leadership Institute summer job training program are hard at work to put the brakes on DWIs.

Covering Food Bazaar Supermarket’s back wall, this work is meant to remind residents that their choices behind the wheel matter and affect everyone.

The mural, which has no official title yet, was created using paint brushes dipped in acrylics.

A dedication ceremony is slated for Thursday, August 27 at 10 a.m. at the wall’s 535 E. 170th Street location.

Groundswell artists are working diligently this week to add the finishing touches to the mural.

Currently referred to as the ‘DOT-Stop DWI mural’, this public artwork is made possible with funds from NY-STOP DWI and presents a theme of “livable streets” to remind New Yorkers that our choices matter and when driving impaired, motorists are four times more likely to be involved in a crash in contrast to a sober driver.

The work presents two sides, one depicting an intoxicated driver in a blurry scene, painted in dark tones, and the other side illustrating a sober driver using more vibrant colors.

A fork in the road, in the middle of the mural, connects the theme.

The side showcasing DWI’s effects has an impaired motorist driving with a snail on his steering wheel symbolizing his slower reaction time.

The opposite side displays a drunk driver offering his keys to family members sprouting out of his hand symbolizing how one’s actions can affect others and shows transportation alternatives impaired drivers can take such as a bus, subway and taxi.

Above the set of keys is a hand signaling stop and a banner with the blood alcohol content of 0.08 which is the legal level to be considered driving while impaired.

The phrase, “Maneja Sobrio” or “Drive Sober” in Spanish appears on the mural and was done to get the message out to everyone in this diverse community.

Groundswell, a Brooklyn-based group, unites youth, artists and community partners to create public art advancing social change for a more just and equitable world and this mural following in this tradition.

“It’s definitely empowering to grow as an artist, but more importantly to give back to my community. This mural becomes a voice the community hears to learn about DWI’s effect and how to make wiser decisions and better choices to avoid it,” Angie Roman, Kingsbridge resident and three-year Groundswell artist shared.

“When people see this mural, they’ll see DWI is a big issue in our communities and will take away solutions to prevent it,” Malikah Mahone, Parkchester resident and three-year Groundswell artist said.

“I believe it’s a really good collaboration with the DOT because we used a lot of their information on DWIs and it’s also very gratifying to see our artists reaching out to other adults in the community and learning how to become team players and leaders,” Raúl Ayala, Groundswell leading artist said.

Ayala added designing the mural was a long process involving input from different community partners and half of its design came from DOT’s research which was shared with Groundswell students during interactive workshops held throughout the program.

“It has been a joy working with the youth to better educate them on Vision Zero and develop this mural that will remind New Yorkers of the dangers of driving while under the influence,” said NYC DOT Assistant Commissioner for Education and Outreach Kim Wiley-Schwartz.

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