Bushwick School Playground, Plagued by Graffiti, Gets New Mural Painted by Students

Students are spending these dog days of summer sprucing up an ugly wall — that will brighten up their days when the new school year begins next month. Our Cheryl Wills has the story from Bushwick.

Students of all ages are laser focused on this 10-foot-by-100-foot wall that was an eyesore for students who attend P.S. 120 in Bushwick.

Assistant Principal Sonia Rodrigo says it took years to start over with a clean slate.

"This is their playground," Rodrigo said. "This is where they spend their free time, our children PS 120 children, this is where they come to play to exercise to release energy or just to think — and it's not pretty."

Well, it's getting pretty now, thanks to the non-profit organization CITYarts — which funds a program to transform bleak walls like this into lively murals.

When kids create, they do not destroy," said CITYarts Executive Director Tsipi Ben-Haim. "You look at this community and this wall, it was filled with graffiti."

Graffiti is easy for students to spot in this gritty neighborhood, but this work of art is created by the students for the students.

"The biggest we've had yet and we've done a few murals but this is an amazing opportunity," said art teacher Rebecca DeLaney.

Mixed Media Artist Paul Deo created the outline of the mural based on the students' ideas.

"They can envision a world that they would want to see to have them relax and open up their minds to express themselves and their imagination and that's what this is all about," Deo said.

It's also about beautifying an urban neighborhood and giving students a legacy to be enjoyed for years to come.

"I want them to feel alive where they can just have fun," the artist said.

The mural should be done by mid-September, just as the students settle in to their new classrooms. 

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