Peekskill Turns Parking into Works of Art

Guest reporter (and regular Patch blogger) Margaret Steele reports on Peekskill’s large-scale public art installation created by artists and local youth groups.

Peekskill’s newest large-scale public art installation, was unveiled on Sunday. Six giant murals are on display on the James Street Parking Garage, with several more due to go up over the next few weeks. These colorful and extremely varied banners were created by Westchester County artists and local youth groups and will remain on display for a year.

The unveiling attracted a crowd of supporters, including artists involved in the project, city officials, local residents and curious passersby, warmed by hot cider and a festive atmosphere. Several of the artists posed for photos under their murals and enthusiastically talked about their creative process.

“The Banner Project” is the latest project of Youth Mural Arts program director, Kelli Bickman, whose goal was to bring together young artists and professional mentors to create a community-engaged art project on a grand scale. Livia Straus and Jo-Ann Brody of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art collaborated with Kelli Bickman on the project.  The designs on the banners were inspired by the HVCCA’s current exhibition, ‘Circa 1986’.

The youth groups and mentoring artists that participated in the project are: Peekskill Day Camp /Jo-Ann Brody; Peekskill Youth Bureau/Kelli Bickman; Peekskill Salvation Army/Andrew Kaminski; Greenburg Academy/Jessica Fuente; Croton-Cortlandt Center for the Arts/Jeannie Egel; Rye Art Center/Tova Snyder; selected Peekskill Youth/Lana Yu; Peekskill High School/Heather Brown; and the Art Department of Peekskill Middle School.

Funding for the project has come from Arts Westchester with additional funding from NYSCA, the Berg Foundation, Golden Acrylics, the Peekskill Educational Foundation, the Peekskill BID, Designsanything.com, and others.  The project hopes to bring on more artists and youth groups as funding allows. 

The grand unveiling of The Banner Project was in conjunction with HVCCA’s Family Art Day, which included family and youth art activities and a performance by dancer/choreographer Andrea Elam and composer Brian D. Taylor.

Kelli Bickman December 07, 2011 at 01:35 AM
patience, Mary Jane. working on it.
Liz Giegerich December 07, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Thanks for posting this link Lana. Great photos! Please feel free to add any of them to the article.
Mary Jane December 07, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Fair enough, Kelli, and I can appreciate the time, effort and love that indeed went into this work in progress. Not an easy task to plan, coordinate, manage, and bring to fruition the project in this economy. Engaging the children is extraordinary and commendable. We as a community can cultivate tomorrow's scholars, athletes, musicians and yes, artists.
Maureen Winzig December 22, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Well, I'm certainly glad this dialog has returned to... The Banner Project! Kelli Bickman is a truly talented professional artist and a giving soul. Some artists working in solitude only wish they could make the time and exert the effort it takes to direct such a project. At risk kids are very often left to fall through the cracks. Art in the hands of these kids may be one of the few opportunities to express themselves in a positive way and be involved in something they (and we) can be proud of. With the direction of Kelli and the other talented artists involved I feel their work is amazing and does enhance that nasty garage! I also commend the Patch for posting all the positive efforts Peekskill is making no matter how flawed they may be. As an artist in Peekskill, I like that the community can see the events and happenings in town. I applaud the attempts no matter what goes on behind the scenes. I love Peekskill and am personally doing my best to make positive things happen. Perhaps another forum should open just for tearing everything to shreds. There are real problems in every town for sure. For this post I congratulate The Banner Project for all the work and community bolstering it has brought to Peekskill.
Patty Villanova December 22, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Here we go again, if one dares to question where all the millions of taxpayer dollars are going in this city, get ready for to get run out of town on a rail. The tar and feathers are waiting. I have been coming to Peekskill for over 50 years. I invested my life savings and 7 years of my life trying to have a successful business in a city that I love for reasons that I also write about. I am sick and tired of being excoriated and marginalized by the Newbies who come here with all the answers. I want to hear what you have to say 5 years from now if you're still around. By the way, Kool-aid is being distributed at the Gazebo.


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