The Neighborhood Show Opening

Our pop-up neighborhood show opening went great. We had a large turn out, with people coming from all over the neighborhood. Senator Adams gave a brief speech about how he would like to see more arts in the PLG neighborhood. Leslie and Daniel provided steel drum and guitar music while everybody looked around at the artwork from over 40 contributors. The mood was energetic and most people were astounded to see something like this going on—and sad to hear it will return to being vacant mid-november.

I was able to include many of my recent paintings.  The surprise hit was the street corner,which I recently reworked. It was the most directly identifiable location. I love the chance to hang salon style, and this show provided that challenge. The bananas are a bit out of place, but so be it! I decided to hang them anyway.

Felix had a drawing of the “city in pink” hanging in the kids room. Students from several area schools were invited to participate. It was great to see them at the opening with their parents. They seemed very proud.

I was a bit out of it overall. I was fighting off a cold, which made traversing the social aspects of the opening a bit hard. My reaction time was slow. I was able to jump on the microphone for a little minute though! Did a quick verse on an acoustic cover of Marleys “I Don’t Wanna Wait in Vain For Your Love” It was fun to rock over steel drums for the first time!  But Felix had me beat. He rocked the steel drums and danced and seemed to have a great time.

Overall, its been amazing to meet so many people in the neighborhood through this effort. The response has also been inspiring. Many folks have been walking in off the street with a smile on their face. I think the show has tightened community bonds a bit, and also illustrated a vibrant arts culture in the immediate area. It will be bittersweet when the pop up gallery closes, but the case has been made for such events in the neighborhood and I look forward to seeing what we can do next.

For now, I’m off to catch the music programming for this weekend at 552 flatbush, the Neighborhood show. Make sure to catch it by the closing party on November 13th.

By Noel Hefele

Noel Hefele is an artist living in the Bronx