We all live in the concrete jungle. But how many of us venture on Concrete Safaris? This month, the Awesome Foundation of NY will be supporting the City Surfers initiative of Concrete Safaris up in East Harlem, to get more kids outside, surfing their city, and learning skills about the outdoors that they might not be getting at school or at home. City Surfers is a year-round after school educational activity for kids age 7-11—and turns into a full day-camp by summer—where students help to manage over 15,000 square feet of gardens on New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) properties. Students are encouraged to dream big in these natural spaces that they help create and sustain. And their work in the garden moves into the streets, as they have also recently begun selling their harvest of fruits, veggies, perennials, and herbs at local farmers markets. The grant will go to support the purchase of critical ingredients for a City Surfer’s optimal experience, including plants that attract butterflies on their migration routes, art supplies and some good old fashion games. Concrete Safaris works with 1200 students a year and fosters community through their programming. We are excited to help them grow their impact.
By Ted Alcorn (Awesome NYC Trustee) On an island of concrete between four lanes of traffic, shaded by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway above and washed by the sound of traffic all around it, three designers see an opportunity for light and beauty. Their vision, Silent Lights, is a series of six gates that light up sequentially based on the intensity of sound and vibrations from oncoming traffic: “the transfer of aural sound into visual light.” The designers—Valeria Bianco, Michelle Brick and Shagun Singh—are the July grantees of Awesome Foundation-NYC. The Awesome Foundation-NYC grant will provide funding for LEDs and arduinos for the gates, bringing light and movement to the installation. “Once connected, the LEDs will translate the patterns of the surrounding traffic noise into an interactive wave of light and make Silent Lights a living and breathing piece of art,” wrote the designers. Awesome Foundation-NYC admired their perseverance, their originality of vision, and their efforts to bring something beautiful to the community. Silent Lights has received funding from the New York City Department of Transportation, the Design Lighting Foundation, and the Brooklyn Arts Council, and while the designers continue to raise funds, they hope to complete the project by the end… read more →