All that glitters is not gold — sometimes it’s glass! One Map of Many Moments, the newly-completed glass mosaic map of the park, celebrates volunteerism and stewardship in Fort Greene Park. With the help of many neighborhood hands and minds, we worked together with local artist Amanda Patenaude to transform park trash into our community’s newest treasure. Patenaude’s work fuses community and environmental awareness with creativity: the colorful collage of glass speaks to the park’s importance to the Fort Greene neighborhood while bringing a glimmer of beauty to one of the park’s forgotten assets. The new mosaic masterpiece brings an awareness of what the park means to its users, by highlighting park goers’ favorite places, activities, and elements of Fort Greene Park. The mosaic can be found just southwest of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument on a marble plinth that once held a plaque given as a gift to the City from King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Due to vandalism and the elements, the King’s plaque was removed in the 1980s, and is currently viewable in the Visitor Center. Until now, the empty marble plinth was an eyesore.
The mosaic, made from upcycled glass collected with park volunteers, was a collaborative, collective effort on every level. Although Patenaude led the design of the overall mosaic and fabricated the final piece, the mosaic required the contributions of community members from all walks of life to come into fruition. For almost three years, NYC Parks and the Fort Greene Park Conservancy worked together with the help of hundreds of volunteers to pick up glass shards found around the park. The glass pieces, some dating as far back as the 1930s, originate from a time when the park fell into disrepair. This was not unusual for parks across the city in 1970s and the 1990s, which were severely underfunded following the city's fiscal ails of the 1970s. Today, the glass pieces continue to emerge from the park's eroded slopes after heavy rains. The unsightly hazard, transformed into public art, will be a long-standing reminder of this park’s complex history, and of the landscape management challenges that it still faces.
As much a work of art as it is a work of volunteerism, the mosaic also draws on the creativity of local neighbors and residents, who submitted drawings for the individual fragments. The images on the glass pieces range from trees and birds to depictions of weddings and cookouts. This variety of pictures highlights the diversity of experiences we share in the park, including both moments of social fun and of reflection and serenity. Submissions of art for the glass shards were collected from FGPC’s weekly Music in the Grove: Kids Concerts series, the Fort Greene Greenmarket, and Urban Glass’ open house last year. The center of the mosaic features a drawing of the Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument, originally designed by Stanford White. According to Patenaude, “This work of art has been a catalyst to investigate issues of waste and reuse, new forms of community building and our evolving role as patrons of this beautiful park.” Patenaude remarked that "it has been a wonderful experience working with the FGPC on every step of this project. I also would like to thank UrbanGlass for their generous studio contributions." One volunteer who helped install the piece, Jasmin Chang, said "I’m glad to hear that much of [the glass] is historic, and not just litter from the weekend. I loved that the community could come together to collect that glass, and that Amanda made something beautiful out of this." Julian Macrone, FGPC Program and Development Manager, stressed that “Public art like this that celebrates our park and brings awareness to its history is the kind of engaging work we strive to bring to Fort Greene Park, and we thank Amanda for all the vision, work, and heart she brought to this project.”
As a collective project, the mosaic speaks to the spirit of the Fort Greene community, and the diversity of experiences that make Fort Greene Park the beautiful place it is. An opening reception to celebrate One Map of Many Moments will take place on July 20th from 5:00-6:30 pm and it will be on display through May 2018. In addition to the reception, people of all ages are invited to participate in a glass mosaic workshop with Amanda Patenaude on Sunday, July 30th from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm at the southwest wing of the monument plaza. Come out to both events to participate in the community-building effects of the mosaic and to unleash your own creative eye!
One Map of Many Moments is made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in King’s County in Brooklyn Arts Council.
Click here to learn about the June 20th opening.
- Linda Worden, FGPC Summer Programming Intern, Williams College Class of 2019