Parkway artist offers colorful solution to Van Nest graffiti

Parkway artist offers colorful solution to Van Nest graffiti
(l-r) 49th Precinct NCO Patrick Nicewicz, Jeremy Warneke, Lovie Pignata and 49th Precinct NCO Stephen Brancatelli admired Pignata’s murals.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

A local artist has offered a creative solution to prevent vandalism at a graffiti-prone Van Nest site.

Community Board 11 has commissioned Pelham Parkway resident and artist Lovie Pignata to paint two murals on the northeast corner of East Tremont Avenue and Adams Street, a location frequently affected by graffiti.

In January, CB 11 paid Fedcap $999.98 to rid this problematic location of graffiti, however the vandalism persisted.

Jeremy Warneke, CB 11 district manager, said Pignata made a proposal before the board to create murals at the blighted location as a means of deterring future vandalism.

According to Warneke, the location immediately to the right of The Church of Pentecost U.S.A., Inc. at 1600 Adams Street, has been experiencing vandalism since at least 2008.

Pignata, a Pratt Institute alumna, is well-known for her East Bronx History Forum-commissioned Morris Park Historical 100 Year Mural on Sackett Avenue, her Concrete Plant Park art installation ‘Bronx River Native’ featuring three geometric designs created with large, painted concrete pavers referencing the borough’s original inhabitants the Mohegan and its current residents and her Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant-funded ‘Daylighting’ art installation which was displayed at Virginia Park from June 2017 to June 2018.

She often incorporates the Bronx’s history, architecture, cultures and local waterways in her work.

The two murals are a 10 foot tall, 500 square feet long ‘Alewifes & Eels’ and 10 foot tall, 500 square feet wide ‘East Treemont.’

Both murals were done in spray paint.

Pignata started working on the murals on Saturday, June 1 and completed both on the evening of Sunday, June 30.

According to Pignata, the Alewifes & Eels mural represents the Bronx River and its aquatic wildlife while the East Treemont mural featuring vibrant tree roots is a creative word play on the Bronx street.

Her public works involve the community through programming and collaboration with various local groups.

She has received help from several street artists while working on the murals late at night.

Pignata added that the 49th Precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination police officers assisted in painting eyeballs on two of the fish depicted in the Alewifes & Eels mural.

She said that the reactions from and interactions with passersby have been overwhelmingly positive.

“People have been thanking us for creating these murals because they enjoy seeing all of the bright colors and imagery it brings to the neighborhood,” Pignata said.

She plans to contact Community Board 6 to see if she can create a mural to help mitigate graffiti affecting an Amtrak wall at Rosedale and Bronx River avenues located diagonally across from the Adams Street murals.

While Pignata does not currently have a set idea for her proposed Rosedale and Bronx River avenues mural, Pignata said that it will be colorful.

To view more of Pignata’s work, visit

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