The text-based project, which will stay up until May 2021, amplifies quotes from the late poet Lucille Clifton’s work “won’t you celebrate with me” across the Bandshell stage. It is the first major public arts work featured in Prospect Park since the pandemic began, and overall one of the first installations in the Bandshell’s history.
Commissioned by BRIC, Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks, and created by Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, the installation reads: “Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.”
“This public art work provides a message of strength and joy, celebrating and uniting our community during these difficult times,” said BRIC President Kristina Newman-Scott.
The artwork aims to remind viewers of adversities faced by the Black community in the fight for racial equity, a common thread of Clifton’s poems. Its use of large, neon text is a nod to posters often seen at protests. The words are woven into fencing, which signifies an effort to transform a symbol that represents a barrier meant to separate an immigrant community into one that uplifts instead.
With “Inspired By ‘What Is Left’,” Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine has extended an ongoing project that reimagines unoccupied public spaces in Crown Heights. The project is particularly meaningful to Prospect Park, which has served as both an open gathering space for communities facing COVID-19 and a backdrop for the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“In the past six months, Prospect Park has played an essential role in our community, and we could not be more delighted than to welcome the Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine to Brooklyn's Backyard," noted Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance, “and to celebrate and illuminate the resilience of our community through public art.”