Groundswell, New York’s leading organization dedicated to community public art, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and New York City Council Public Housing Chair Ritchie Torres collaborated on a major one-year initiative entitled “Public Art / Public Housing.” The pieces were designed and installed by a total of 200 young adult NYCHA residents ages 16-24, in the transformation of vacant walls throughout public housing developments in all five boroughs. The tenant's association at each development guided the creation of three mural projects, for a total of 15 new public artworks throughout New York City.
“Collective Dreams” reflects the aspirations of Tompkins Houses, depicted through collaborative portraits which represent collective identities. The portraits presented are incarnations of many thinkers, dreamers, and inhabitants of the neighborhood. The design utilizes overlapping patterns and shapes to suggest shared spaces and commonalities. Blossoming plant life and gleaming rays animate the contemplative faces and interact with the sources adjacent. Windows decorate the portraits and offer suggestions of personal and shared spaces and compound perspectives. “Collective Dreams” is reflective of the colorful characteristics, traits, and personalities of Tompkins Houses and the larger neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. It contains, motifs, patterns, and architectural elements which represent the community for which it’s created.