Public Art: Beautifying Riverbank

Location: 1495 Herkimer Street Brooklyn, NY 11233
Neighborhood: East New York
Program: School-based Programs
Theme: Urban Environment
Year: 2011
Partner(s): Aspiration Diploma Plus High School
Lead Artist(s): Chris Soria
Assistant Artist(s): Frank Parga
Participants: Six high school students at Aspirations Diploma Plus High School
Medium: Acrylic on pillars
Dimensions: 3 Pillars each at 8 x 11 ft


“Beautifying Riverbank” was created by Groundswell in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and NYC Department of Environmental Protection. The mural engages Riverbank State Park’s diverse visitors in a celebration of our local water cycle, from the Catskill Mountains to New York City, as well as tells the story of Riverbank State Park’s creation and the resource it continues to be to the community 20 years after its opening.

In developing the site-specific mural designed for the Riverbank water splashing area, youth muralists enlivened a monumental wall with a whimsical visual narrative. Playfully changing depths and perspectives, the design illustrates the unique stories behind this one-of-a-kind park and the New York City water cycle. The mural reads left to right, and begins at daybreak as a group of community activists organize for a state-of-the-art park to be built atop a planned wastewater treatment plant. The mural ends at moonrise, as these same activists, now grandparents and friends of the park, enjoy all that the park has to offer and envision its future legacy.

At its center, children splash in the waters of the Catskill Mountains beneath a radiant Mother Nature figure. The unveiling of this mural proved particularly meaningful as Riverbank State Park celebrated its 20th anniversary. The 28-acre multi-level landscaped recreational facility rises 69 feet above the Hudson River and offers a wide variety of recreational, athletic and arts experiences for all ages, interests and abilities.

“Riverbank State Park and this beautiful mural sit on top of the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant which plays a critical role in protecting the environment and public health.”

— Carter Strickland, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner

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