Thursday, June 26, 2008
At the corner of 33rd and Diamond streets is where Mander Playground is located. This park occupies a large portion of the block and is beautifully maintained. We entered the park and walked through the swing sets and past the two ceramic seals spraying water with a little girl jumping in the puddles, to get to a small yellow building. In front of the building, which is a community center, we ran into Gail B. Gail, a community outreach director for the East Park Revitalization Alliance. Gail was waiting for a meeting she had scheduled with a member of the community center, but in the mean time we chatted with her about her occupation and the revitalization alliance. I could not stop myself from continuously peering over her shoulder as she had her back facing a colorful and charming mural. When I acknowledged the artwork by Henry Bermudez (I spotted the artists name printed on the credits in the corner of the wall) Gail turned around, and we stood in awe at the beauty of it for a minute. Then, Gail motioned for us to follow her as she said, “Let me show you the rest of the artwork,” and laughed. She lead us to the other side of the building where the intricate art turned into what looked like a second grader could have painted it. Stars, trees, birds, ducks and rainbows were randomly placed and misshapen all over the wall. Not so much to my surprise, this portion of the mural was in fact, created by a second grader, a whole bunch of second graders and other kids of various ages from the neighborhood painted the mural on the backside of the building. The young artists are a part of an after school program provided by the community center. The artwork is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face and definitely worth noting as another highlight in Strawberry Mansion.