Monday, April 4, 2011

Teens who Graduated from Graffiti Ready Mural for High-End Staten Island Condos

Excerpt from Teens who Graduated from Graffiti Ready Mural for High-End Staten Island Condos
By Jodi Lee Reifer, Staten Island Advance

At the outset, it was just an ordinary 200-foot-long, 8-foot-high plywood fence ringing a construction site.

But investors in the site’s future are hoping it will be much more: A billboard for an active-adult community; a platform for changing public perception about legal graffiti art and, ultimately, a canvas that bridges generations.

Teens involved with the NYC Arts Cypher are designing an approved mural on the fence encircling the future Club at Clove Lakes Park, a 55-and-older boutique condominium that’s rising in Sunnyside.

"We’re taking the creative talent and the creative energies that young people have and directing and focusing them into something positive, to show them there’s a commercial market for their artistic expression," says Wayne Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for the Club.

Miller, artistic director of the Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre Company, met Charlie Balducci, founder of the Cypher, at a city Department of Cultural Affairs seminar for nonprofits. A partnership seemed a natural when Miller was hired to promote the retiree community, which is a project by developer R. Randy Lee.

The 24-apartment gated complex, where one-bed-room apartments will be in the $575,000 range and two-bedroom units will start around $750,000, will have a rooftop terrace, health and fitness facilities, a lap pool, electronic security, a concierge available by telephone and a full-time resident assistant who can help with chores like carrying groceries or clearing snow from a car.

The marketing slogan? "The lifestyle you earned."

For this mural, Balducci selected five teens, each of whom had been through the Cypher’s M.U.R.A.L. —Motivating Understanding Realizing Artists Learn — program, a series of workshops that connects teens with professional urban artists. Each had shown a particular aptitude for art.

During a planning session at the Cypher’s headquarters earlier this week, the teens mapped out their schematic. Markers and pencils scattered across a long table, the artists — all boys between the ages of 15 and 21 — carefully sketched chunky butterflies, roses and daisies. The design invokes a flower-power motif and should appeal to the baby-boomer generation the condo community targets, explained Geoff Rawling, 49, president of the Rockaway Artists Alliance, a nonprofit in Queens that mentors youth in artistic endeavors to beautify various neighborhoods in the city.

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