The Aquarium Project
The Aquarium Project
Why this petition matters
Friends of Mosholu Parkland, (FOMP) is a community grassroots organization, volunteering with keeping parks clean, green and, building community.
During our cleanups, we get to talk with people about parks, life and things. A few years ago, an older man shared how when he is not sitting in the park on rainy and colder days, he is home feeding his fish in his aquarium. He described his aquarium having a mermaid, treasure chest, bright flowers and fishes. FOMP came up with an idea to use the shabby wall in the garden and bring the image to bigger than life. We called it "The Aquarium". The project would resonate with others like him, bring a spotlight to the area that help maintain the area clean, provide public environmental awareness and provide a sense of community and place.
Grants were researched and rewarded. A sketch was created by one of our own. PARKS, community members and park users loved the idea. We were sure that PARKS would approve and they almost did-- except the wall was not PARKS but MTA.
FOMP reached out to MTA for written approval. As per MTA response to the request, it was declined due to "major deficits and lack of resources and maintenance" as well as not going through the "usual uniform process". MTA Arts and Design Director went on to say how "they" have an open selection for any art installations along with this statement, "In the event that our financial situation improves and MTA Arts and Design is able to establish a formal mural program, we will be sure you have the opportunity to submit a proposal"
and when do you think financial situations will improve? They were having problems before this pandemic.
As a grassroots group, and using a community member as an artist, all we want to do is put a colorful mural behind a shabby dirty wall facing the garden for our community residents. This will not cost MTA NOTHING. They don't have to provide any resources, equipment or maintenance. More now than ever we need a colorful mural to bring on cheer and bringing art into the community would help counteract the pandemic despair for everyone.
Covid has changed many of the uniform processes. In fact, it has also widen social and health inequalities, along with disparities of economic and education. To add to the changing times, is the Black Lives Matter movement. The back facing wall is seen by many that include Veterans, seniors and homeless who sit near the garden and also residents that live across the street at Tracey Towers and along East Mosholu Parkway North. The culture and demographics of this area, mostly black, hispanics and people of color, would greatly appreciate a mural where the main character is of color and that they could relate to. This is us!
We are requesting a no-liability deal from the MTA for a community based initiative that is personal to our neighborhood. We need signatures and support letters and we need your help.
Please support our fight. MTA needs to re-think and review their art and community projects as many things have changed in the way we do things and they need to change with it to support their customers.