COBBLE HILL — A group of student artists transformed a desolate Atlantic Avenue underpass with a brand-new mural, which they unveiled on Wednesday.
Community members and business owners gathered to celebrate the new mural, called “Moving Along,” found on the dark space’s north wall at the end of Atlantic Avenue near Columbia Street.
A team of 17 young artists, aged 15 to 21, began designing the mural in July, hoping that it would encourage people to pass through the once dreary area between the commercial corridor and Brooklyn Bridge Park, Esteban del Valle, 28, the project’s lead artist, told DNAinfo New York.
The mural is “something that grabs people’s attention,” said Yessenia Fabian, 18, one of the student artists on the project.
Images of Atlantic Avenue businesses, the Brooklyn Bridge, a horse-drawn carriage and old-school bicycles reflect the past and present of the neighborhood, said del Valle.
Abstract designs also connect the park and community like “the flower of life” and a design that pays homage to Atlantic Avenue’s Middle Eastern community, he said.
The project was organized by Groundswell, a nonprofit organization that facilitates mural-making projects, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, which represents more than 300 neighborhood businesses.
“They’ve just done an incredible job of reflecting this community,” said Josef Szende, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue BID, which funded the project through a grant they received from the Department of Small Business Services and Deputy Mayor Robert Steel.
Several officials gathered for the unveiling ceremony, including Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilman Brad Lander, Assemblywoman Joan Millman and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.
“It really brightens up this whole area,” said Charlotte D’Costa Taylor, who owns Floral Heights, an Atlantic Avenue business.
The team of artists visited her in July to ask what she would like to see incorporated into the mural.
“Flowers, of course,” she said, along with purple, her favorite color.
Taylor, who has been on the block for eight years, remembers the underpass being a dark and dismal place, she said.
“It’s very gratifying to see the changes.”