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Winning Murals Go on Display in East Village Park

By Serena Solomon | November 14, 2013 2:48pm | Updated on November 15, 2013 8:25am
 The winning pieces in a mural comeptition are nearing completion in First Park.
First Street Green Murals
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EAST VILLAGE — The winners of an East Village mural competition are installing their designs in a local park.

First Park, on East First Street between First and Second avenues, issued an open call in July for artwork that would cover 250 feet of plywood fence facing busy East Houston Street. The organization that runs the park, First Street Green, narrowed the 50 applicants down to 10 artists, who are now finishing up their outdoor art display.

"Some of them are street artists. Some have never done a mural before and just came up with a good design. Some are from the fine art community," said John Bowman, a Penn State art professor and a co-founder of First Street Green, which transformed the space from a rat-infested vacant lot to a public park that focuses on art.

Bowman plans to regularly change the artwork in the park, with calls for fresh ideas going out three times per year.

"The news about this is growing and we are getting more and more requests [from artists]," he said.

The 10 winners first round include fine artist Emily Noelle Lambert, who is more accustomed to her works being shown in art galleries such as Lu Magnus on the Lower East Side.

"Her piece was more abstract," Bowman said. "We gave her a corner [on the plywood fence] and she was able to built out from the surface and get a third dimension going."

Another winning artist, Vernon O'Meally, pitched his idea to cover 30 feet of plywood with his abstract spray paint design.

"He is a young artist who had never had a chance to do a mural on this scale before," Bowman said.

Some of the passersby on heavily trafficked East Houston Street have already approached First Street Green about buying the pieces.

However, Bowman said the organization, which works in conjunction with the city's Parks Department, isn't planning on capitalizing on the offers anytime soon.

"[The artists] have done this without expecting anything from it," he said.