Intersections Humanized

  • "Intersections Humanized."
  • Research for the mural included a variety of exercises, such as collaborative portrait-making and a workshop hosted by the NYC Department of Transportation addressing the role urban planning can play in creating more livable streets.
  • The team took their design concept out to the people on Pitkin Avenue to get feedback from the community.
  • After priming and gridding, the youth transfer an outline of the design onto the wall using sketches as their guide.
  • The palette of greens and blues was chosen by the team because it is both eye-catching and easy-on-the-eyes.
  • A detail from the mural forms a central constellation of individual portraits.

Project Description

“Intersections Humanized” was created by a group of teen artists participating in Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute, including some with a history of court-involvement. These young people collaborated with artists Chris Soria and Don Christian Jones and community partners the NYC DOT, Pitkin Avenue BID, and the Brownsville Community Justice Center to create a vision of shared streets in Brownsville and support the economic revitalization of historic Pitkin Avenue.


In the mural, a central constellation of individual portraits overlooks historic Pitkin Avenue. Together, these individual portraits highlight the strength and diversity present in Brownsville, while creating a positive shared identity for the neighborhood’s 116,000 residents. The image is a powerful reminder of the critical role each of us has to play in transforming our community and promoting the livability of our streets. Text along the bottom reads “Respect,” “Pride,” “Fortitude,” and “Compassion.”


The unveiling of this mural is particularly meaningful as the City of New York announces a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), awarded to Groundswell to support the presentation of a transformative mural project in Brownsville entitled “Transform/Restore: Brownsville.” This participatory public art project will engage high-risk young adults, local businesses, and community members in creating visible and permanent change in one of New York City's most challenged neighborhoods.

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Project Info

Fun Facts

Suggested Activity
Sketch a series of portraits of individuals from your neighborhood. How do these images intersect to form a community?
Brownsville has the highest concentration of public housing of any neighborhood in the nation, and 1 in 12 Brownsville men between the ages of 16 to 24 are in prison.
“Though young people in Brownsville face many challenges and are more likely than other youth to have contact with the justice system, they are a great asset to their community.” –Benjamin Smith, Brownsville Community Justice Center Program Coordinator