‘Claremont Illuminated’ Brings Public Art to the S. Bronx

“Mother and Child,” an image that will be part of the Claremont Illuminated project. (Photo: Adeline Lulo, courtesy of Bronx Photo League, via Next City)

At least a dozen photographers are fanning out across the Claremont Village section of the South Bronx to capture images of the community that will be shared with residents as they are projected onto empty spaces such as vacant lots or public stairwells. The project, called “Claremont Illuminated,” is being presented by the Bronx Documentary Center, Rhynna Santos, coordinator of the Bronx Photo League, told Jared Brey in Next City.

The illuminations may range from projected digital photos to lit-up prints to audio and video interviews—whatever technology will allow, Santos says.

Some of the artists are focusing on senior citizens living in the extensive public housing projects in the neighborhood. Others are zooming in on community health issues, or schools, or fatherhood, or, as Santos says, “the horrible issue of rats.”

“It’s functional art,” says Santos. “It’s not just going to be, hopefully, thought-provoking and beautiful, but also useful for the community.”

The public art and street lighting project got funding through the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact, an outgrowth of New York’s first comprehensive cultural plan, called CreateNYC.

Selected organizations get $50,000 from the Department of Cultural Affairs, plus $25,000 in either cash or in-kind support from a partner city agency, including the Departments of City Planning, the Department of Probation, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. In all, it adds up to $500,000 in city support for diverse cultural organizations in far-flung New York neighborhoods.

Go to Next City to read about other cultural projects being funded, and to learn the ways in which, Santos says, the project will give the community “a voice.”

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