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New Math Mural Adding to Long Island City's Beauty

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | October 2, 2012 11:05am

LONG ISLAND CITY — Call it art by numbers.

Dozens of kids took to an overpass near the Hunters Point train station last Saturday to show that math can be beautiful — painting a yellow and orange mural of the Fibonacci series to beautify the aging structure.

The kids began the rendition of the famous mathematical sequence, in which each number is the sum of two previous numbers, on the 49th Avenue overpass in conjunction with Publicolor — a non-profit organization, that provides creative design-based programs to at-risk youth while transforming public spaces with vivid colors.

The same pattern was painted on the nearby 21st Street Bridge last year, but in yellow, blue and green.

Both projects — commissioned by the Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program — aim to beautify the neighborhood, where elements of its industrial past mix with new high-rise apartments.

"I was inspired by the Fibonacci series in creating the designs for these busy commuter walkways," said Publicolor's founder and president, Ruth Lande Shuman, who is also an industrial designer. "The sequence beautifully expresses the synergistic relationship between time and movement while giving visual interest."

The Fibonacci numbers — introduced to European mathematics by an Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci in the 13th century — are a popular theme in culture. They have been mentioned in various art projects, novels and films, including "The Da Vinci Code."

Sarah Poten–Faw, special events and communications manager at Publicolor, said that the project which was interrupted by a rainy weather, would be completed this coming weekend.

Volunteers from Pratt Institute, Ernst & Young and DC9 painters’ union were also there to help.

Every fall, the organization takes on new art project on “PublicolorDay,” which was declared by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006.