BROOKLYN, NY, October 16, 2017: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) promoted WATERSHED Red Hook, a large-scale public art project and community forum presented by ArtW Global, an advocacy organization committed to promoting women artists by means of advocacy, curation, and education; the initiative is being held in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and in collaboration with the Fifth Avenue Committee’s “Turning the Tide Environmental Justice Initiative,” a community-based collaboration for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents who live in Gowanus Houses and Red Hook Houses. WATERSHED Red Hook, created by Anita Glesta, an internationally-recognized artist based in Prospect Heights, intends to raise awareness and continue community dialogues regarding the climate change realities of the watershed, waterfront, and mixed-use community of Red Hook. On Thursday, October 26th from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM, a large-scale video installation will transform the sidewalk of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Red Hook Branch into a virtual seascape, where viewers are brought into dialogue with each other and their surroundings; the rain date for this installation is Saturday, October 28th. Borough President Adams encouraged all Brooklynites to reflect on the enduring legacy of Superstorm Sandy and how our borough can channel the pain from that natural disaster into the purpose of combating climate change and bolstering community resiliency.
“At its best, public art brings us together while shining a light on the issues in our society that need our attention,” said Borough President Adams. “That is the spirit fueling WATERSHED Red Hook, a project that underscores our borough’s relationship with the rivers, bays, and greater Atlantic Ocean that surrounds us. Let us recommit ourselves to a more resilient, sustainable Brooklyn, with a waterfront that is able to survive and thrive amid any future storm that may come our way.”
“Red Hook has felt the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, and the succession of hurricanes across the Caribbean and the southeast United States reminds us that the ‘new normal’ is the unprecedented destruction wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria,” said Glesta, a third-generation Brooklynite. “My goal in creating WATERSHED is to create a conversation that inspires action to help mitigate the effects of future storms in affected communities like Red Hook.”
“It is important that NYFA participate in WATERSHED Red Hook as both a means of calling attention to the impact that natural disasters have on artists and in spotlighting how their work brings communities together in processing devastating events, rebuilding, and planning for future disasters,” said Michael L. Royce, executive director of NYFA.
“WATERSHED is a perfect example where a public art project can galvanize a community to create conversation as well as take action on how climate change has affected the community of Red Hook and what can be done to protect the community for the future,” said Marjorie W. Martay, executive director and founder of ArtW Global.
As part of WATERSHED Red Hook, on Saturday, October 28th from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM, there will be a roundtable discussion at the library of community advocates and experts in the fields of design and sustainability, moderated by Alexandros Washburn, founding director of the Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban Xcellence (CRUX) at Stevens Institute of Technology. That same day, from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM at ROOD Gallery, a local art space committed to social justice, there will be an exhibition of Glesta’s drawings and prints, as well as a projection of WATERSHED Red Hook. All events are free and open to the public.
Glesta, a 2002 recipient of the New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA)/NYFA Artist Fellowship in architecture/environmental structures and a 9/11 New York Arts Recovery Fund recipient whose work has been fiscally sponsored through NYFA, is a third-generation Brooklynite whose art-based environmental advocacy dates back decades, when an air pollution poster she painted as a 12-year-old was used at the ceremonies in Washington, DC for the first Earth Day in 1970. Glesta’s works have been sited throughout the world with numerous museum exhibitions and landscape interventions, including a commission from the General Services Administration (GSA) for the entire landscape for the United States Census Bureau building in Washington, DC. Her works encompass numerous artistic approaches, from object-making to time-based installation sculpture and digital works. The Red Hook installation is a continuation of her WATERSHED series, a public art/public space initiative that highlights how climate change is impacting peoples’ lives in intimate ways. In September 2015, WATERSHED was projected onto the face of the National Theatre in London, England, and in April 2016, WATERSHED was viewed as an immersive video production covering the entire floor of the lobby of the New York Customs House on Ellis Island for an event by former Vice President Al Gore.
Since 1971, NYFA has provided working artists and emerging arts organizations with the concrete resources that they need to survive. After Superstorm Sandy, NYFA administered a Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief Fund for individual artists that was supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Lambent Foundation. The vast majority of grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000, and were meant to assist artists who experienced damage or loss as a result of the storm.
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