Life During COVID-19: Brooklyn Center Engages Public for Transit Hub Art
Brooklyn Center is embarking on an ambitious public art project to show how people are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities.
Chloe Cotherman, an art teacher at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School, is the project coordinator.
“I definitely appreciate that it’s on the radar of Brooklyn Center and being considered as a creative solution for place-making, community building and community engagement,” said Cotherman to the city council in a presentation on Nov. 23. “I think art can be a really powerful tool.”
The city partnered with Metro Transit and Brooklyn Center Community Schools on the public arts initiative called the Brooklyn Center Transit Center Public Art Commission. The art being created centers on the theme of community pride and health in response to COVID-19. It’s funded through $25,000 of CARES Act money.
Two teacher-artists are leading the project. Anika Schneider and Kao Lee Thao distributed art kits, got to know the community, and facilitated online forums starting in early fall.
“Both artists have similar color palettes and aesthetics, but very different voices,” explained Cotherman.
The city and artists tried to engage pockets of the community by getting the kits to young and old alike, as well as to different populations in the city. Residents were also invited to participate in online workshops.
Anika Schneider’s project called “Patterns of Connection” shows people wearing masks involved in a everyday life in Brooklyn Center. You can follow the progress on a Facebook page created for the project.
Kao Lee Thao’s “Faces of Brooklyn Center: At the Center” involves large cut-outs of people with words painted on them that reflect the uniqueness of the diverse city.
The artwork should be installed at the transit hub in the spring.
An additional show called “BC Art Showcase” of resident art will debut at the same time as the public art installation. The artwork will be displayed in the monitors at the transit hub. There are currently 20 submissions, but works are still being accepted. You can email those submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org