“I think beautifying the community is really important,” said Officer Daniel Saponieri, who was integral in getting the project off the ground. “It’ll definitely create some pride and ownership in the community.
The mural on the Corona building, which is over 75 years old according to Captain Christopher Manson, depicts a Challenge Coin, something wholly unique to each precinct in the city.
The project was made possible through a joint effort between 501 See Streets and Call to Serve.
“We work with community groups to help beautify neighborhoods through art,” Noah Sheroff said. “One of the places that I reached out to was the 110th Precinct Community Council.”
It was there that Sheroff met Saponieri and the two came up with the idea.
“Officer Saponieri had these two gates available that he wanted to get painted, so we sent a concept along,” Sheroff said.
501 See Streets designs and paints murals across the city, conducts workshops, and provides opportunities for at-risk youth to create artistic spaces in their communities. The project has a multitude of benefits to the community, according to Sheroff.
“The art is beneficial to businesses and to residents,” Sheroff said. “It’s also an effective graffiti deterrent, which is one of the reasons I reached out to the 110th Precinct. We also want to help improve police community relations, so I think this would be a phenomenal start.”
Deterring graffiti has been a priority for the NYPD recently. On social media, the department has been sharing photos of problem areas and officers cleaning the vandalism. For Saponieri, it’s just an added positive to beautifying the community.
“We’re going to be doing murals over graffiti, problematic locations,” Saponieri said. “Hopefully it beautifies and adds to the neighborhood and people will be deterred from painting over it.”
Working alongside the artist in the summer heat were volunteers from Call to Serve, a Pittsburgh-based organization.
Call to Serve takes college students on summer break across the country in an RV to help with various service projects. Adam Kunes, director and co-founder of the organization, said they had just come from Washington D.C.
“They’ve been a phenomenal help, so it’s all sort of come together in that way,” Sheroff said.