At first, the idea to transform the overgrown courtyard at the Mott Haven Public Library into an open air square seemed like a long shot.
The artist group BroLab came up with the plan for “Piazza Gratissima” last fall as part of an art show series at the Bronx River Arts Center.
“Some of us were more sure than others that we were going to be able to pull this off,” artist Ryan Roa laughed.
But then their fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter.com successfully reached its $5,000 goal and now the improbable is about to become a reality.
BroLab will present their idea for “Piazza Gratissima” at Thursday’s Bronx Community Board 1 meeting slated for 6 p.m. at 3024 3rd Ave. in Melrose.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Roa said. “We’re just really happy and excited to actually be able to do it.”
The plans call for the 250-square foot lot to be outfitted with a wooden deck ringed with benches. The seating is built into an elevated garden to be filled with flowering plants, perhaps even vegetables.
“It’s a unique little nook that will represent something more for the community,” said BroLab artist Adam Brent. “It will be a place for people to come together with a literary backdrop that I think will really bolster the community.”
To learn more about “Piazza Gratissima,” visit brolab.org.
Friday, February 24th from 6-9pm
BRAC on the Block @ Bronx Art Space
305 East 140th Street, Bronx NY 10454
Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) announces the closing of its 2011-2012 exhibition program: Shifting Communities. This fourfold exhibition series and ongoing schedule of lectures, presentations, and workshops presented an exciting and eclectic mix of socially engaged artwork and community initiated events. Though endings are often bittersweet, we are thrilled with the success of the program and ask you to please join us on February 24th from 6- 9pm for a celebratory presentation of ephemera from the series. We will also be announcing the continuation of the Roundtable Series at No Longer Empty’s This Side of Paradise exhibition in the Bronx’s Andrew Friedman House.
The Shifting Communities exhibition series featured dynamic initiatives in culture and the arts currently at work in the art world while highlighting social practice in dialogue with the local Bronx community. The goal of this project was to create a paradigm where community-centric contemporary art and artist think-tanks could be a tool for public service; a language for the exploration and investigation of the broader aspects of culture and society; and a magnet that could bring different cultures and ideologies together in order to strengthen a more inclusive definition of community.
This final presentation will showcase follow up work and documentation from each of the Shifting Communities artists as well as notes, images, audio, and video excerpts from over twenty roundtable events. Please join us to celebrate the ending of this exhibition initiative as we look forward to future endeavors.
This exhibition is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Majority Leader Joel Rivera, the Bronx Delegation of the New York City Council, New York State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation’s Arts & Enterprise Place-Based Revitalization Program, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
BroLab in conjunction with Bronx River Arts Center have received final approval for Piazza Gratissima from the New York Public Library and have started to set dates for community meetings concerning the design of Piazza Gratissima.
Based on how the community wishes to utilize the space, in hopes of realizing shared public desires by physically constructing an avenue for civic discourse through collaborative efforts. BroLab will use a portion of the funds raised through kickstarter to hire local unemployed labors to build the Piazza alongside of them.
Opening slated for late June 2012!