A group of world-renowned graffiti artists, many of whom are Bronx natives, painted a huge mural celebrating the best of the Soundview community recently.
Located in the heart of Soundview, the mural features images of notable people from the community like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, as well as scenes from the vibrant neighborhood like a shaved ice vendor in summer and the Whitlock Avenue train station.
Community Board 9 helped arrange a National Association of Relators® financial grant for the project, and Bronx-based graffiti artists turned professional muralists,TATS CRU, and other ‘aerosol artists’ donated their creative services.
According to William Rivera, CB 9 district manager, the effort’s leaders have reached out to Justice Sotomayor to see if she can be a part of a dedication ceremony for the mural.
Congressman Jose Serrano is providing assistance with the matter, he said.
“We would like to have a dedication sometime in the next month,” said Rivera, adding that ideally he would like to see Justice Sotomayor unveil the mural the day of the Morrison Avenue Festival on Saturday, August 15.
“The street they close off is where the mural is located,” the district manager said. “It would be perfect to have her come during the festival and do the unveiling…if not, we will have to do it another day.”
For Alfredo Oyague, one of the artists who participated in painting the mural and who goes by the name ‘Per One,’ said that he was proud to help arrange the donation by TATS CRU, whose murals can sometimes cost art lovers in the high six figures.
The mural features flags of different Latin-American countries whose descendants call the community home, as well as scenes with children playing hop scotch that should be familiar to the people in the neighborhood, he explained.
“The mural represents Soundview and our community,” said Oyague of the mural. “Instead of us doing a wall with our names, we decided to do something to give back.”
Eliezer Rodriguez, executive officer of the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors, said that he thought the $2,200 Place-Making Micro-Grant would be a sound investment in Soundview.
“It is an area that is up and coming, and we want to make it vibrant for the people who live and work there,” said Rodriguez, adding “It is going to make people look up and feel good about that community.”
Among the TATS CRU artists who worked on different parts of the mural were: Tone 163, Bio, Nicer, BG 183 and Pretty Tone 163.
They were joined by Crash from Wallworks Gallery and CES, Per One and Dero from FX Crew.
The mural is part of ongoing efforts to beautify the Soundview community, said Rivera, and there might be more murals planned nearby.