One of the city’s major public pool and park facilities will soon be getting a splash of new art.
Come next month, two murals will be installed at the McCarren Play Center. That’s at 776 Lorimer Street in Brooklyn. Which neighborhood that is in depends on where you look, but as the Parks Department says, McCarren Park is “equally valued and cherished in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.”
The Play Center was constructed between 1934 and 1936, with a team of architects and landscape architects working on the project. Sadly, its pool closed in 1984 and remained so for 28 years. During that time, in 2007, the play center was designated a city individual landmark. In 2012, the pool reopened, with some fanfare, and now plays host to both swimmers and concertgoers.
Well, the swimming season is soon coming to an end, believe it or not, and when it does end, the murals will be installed on the interior northeast and southwest corners of the play center’s center courtyard. Called “Double Sun,” they will be the work of artist Mary Temple. Plans from 1935 actually indicate the intention for art there, but those plans never came to fruition.
Each will appear to be a shadow cast by tree or a projection. Temple, speaking before a session of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in May, called it “an interesting puzzle to be solved.” That’s because people won’t be able to find either a light source or tree to account for the images they will see.
A projection of tree branches will be shined on the areas, and then Temple will hand paint her murals using hand-mixed latex paints tinted 20 to 35 percent lighter than the base color.
She said the end result will be “double the pleasure and double the fun.”
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called it a “great project” that she was “happy to support” and said it will “enhance the architectural beauty of this building.” The project received approval from both the LPC in May and the Public Design Commission in July. A source tells YIMBY that installation should take place between September 11 and 28. In addition to the art itself, there will be two signs installed, giving it proper credit.
The project is part of the city’s Percent for Art program. That dates back to 1982, when a law was passed mandating that one percent of the budget eligible for city-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork. It is managed by the Department of Cultural Affairs.
View the complete LPC presentation slides here: