“Born and Raised” was created as part of the Gowanus Public Art Series, an important component of the Bridging Gowanus initiative led by Council Member Brad Lander. This series will create new platforms for public art, and new opportunities for artists, while at the same time showcasing what makes Gowanus “Gowanus”: the history, the Canal, the culture of creativity and the diversity of the community.
During the design process, a team of young artists researched the history of the Gowanus Canal, from its previous setting as the marshlands of Gowanus Creek to its current state as a superfund site and its legacy of environmental problems. The central image in the mural is the Gowanus Canal. The Gowanus Canal has been designated a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning it is a hyper polluted body of water. But due to local activism, there are massive cleaning efforts being implemented and planned for the canal. Despite the troubling issues surrounding the Gowanus Canal, many people have and continue to consider it home, and the canal has become an enigmatic symbol of the neighborhood.
The mural’s design centers on historically important locations around the Gowanus neighborhood. Included in the mural is the Gowanus Canal as well as the eight-story Kentile Floors sign, on one hand an iconic landmark and on the other a company which manufactured asbestos-containing products. This mural recognizes also the solidarity between the Gowanus Houses (red buildings on the left) and the Wyckoff Houses (beige buildings on the right).
⇒ Download educational curriculum (pdf)