During the early hours of June 13, 2009 one of El Barrio's most famous outdoor artworks, the "Spirit of East Harlem" mural, was mysteriously defaced.
Click here to read David Conzalez's June 27, 2009 report in The New York Times.
murals-mosaicsAfter the incident, Hope Community decided to look at the walls, their messages, messengers, and how those messages are perceived. “Street Talk: Public Art in East Harlem” details the historical and cultural significance of community art, and demonstrates how public art plays a big role in defining the identity of El Barrio and its residents.
The landmark painting has significant historical roots in Spanish Harlem and has served as a cultural attraction for thousands of students and tourists from around the country and the world.
Commissioned by Hope Community, Inc. in 1978, the four-story mural was created by Hank Prussing and featured local residents engaging in everyday activities. Artist Manny Vega, who’d served as Prussing's apprentice, restored the badly weathered painting in the mid-1990s.

Support for the Arts

Hope Community has long supported the arts in East Harlem and the agency has worked to build a sense of community among local residents by producing annual street fairs and arts programming.
murals-mosaics-seed-of-growth-fountainSeed of Growth
Seed of Growth is an outdoor fountain sculpture designed by Lina Puerta in the Modesto Flores Garden on Lexington Avenue near 104th street. The public art project was inspired by the strength and diversity of women in the East Harlem community. The recently-completed concrete and mosaic sculpture will also function as a working water fountain, continually feeding the small stream in the middle of Hope's Modesto Flores Community Garden.
Outdoor Youth Murals
Hope Community partnered with several arts-related organizations to implement summer youth employment programs with a creative twist. Over two-dozen local youth were involved in separate employment programs run by Groundswell Community Mural Project and Creative Arts Workshop for Kids.
Working under the tutelage of lead artists Eduardo Rabel and Alex Pimienta, one group of teens completed Groundswell's collaborative teaching program which included the design and creation of a mural alongside a building adjacent to Hope's Lexington Avenue community garden, located between 123rd and 124th Street.murals-mosaics-deja_vu_mural
The idea for the Groundswell “Making His-Story” mural came about through several public forums during which the youth interviewed local residents and discussed different ideas for the project.
Hope senior staff joined artist Rabel and local youth and neighbors last summer for a priming "paint party" for the "Making His-Story" youth mural. The mural painting then continued throughout July. Afterward, volunteers from Washington Mutual Bank joined the youth in cleaning, seeding, and planting other areas of the vest-pocket park.
The Lexington Avenue mural was unveiled on November 4th, 2006, during a small ceremony held in the community garden.
murals-mosaics-julia-de-burgos-mosaicJulia de Burgos Mosaic
On Friday, October 27, 2006, Iris Consuelo Burgos unveiled an historic mosaic by artist Manny Vega honoring her sister, Julia de Burgos, the revered Boricua poet. The ceremony took place in the heart of East Harlem’s “Cultural Corridor” on the northeast corner of Lexington Avenue and East 106th Street.