Vibrant new street mural takes over Union Square’s 14th Street
Photo by Liz Ligon
A huge nature-themed street mural was installed along the 14th Street Busway in Union Square this week. Titled “Collective Vision,” the mural was painted on the pedestrian areas of the busway between Broadway and Union Square West. Brooklyn-based street artists GERALUZ and WERC designed the piece to highlight the strength of nature and unity, with a ruby-throated hummingbird at the center representing the “power of resilience in standing together against injustice and extinction.” Over the last five days, community volunteers have helped the artists fill in the vibrant colors of the mural.
Photo by Jane Kratochvil
According to the artists, each flower represents an endangered native plant, intended to remind visitors that “we all need love and energy to stay alive and flourish,” as a press release describes.
“We are proud to share the ‘Collective Vision’ mural with the beautiful community of Union Square,” GERALUZ and WERC said in a statement. “Painted in a love language of gratitude in the form of a bouquet of resilience. It’s an honor to create artwork in a place with so much history of unity and power of the people.”
The mural comes as part of a partnership between Union Square Partnership and the city’s Department of Transportation’s Art Program. In addition to being a bright addition to the neighborhood, the painted walkways are also meant to serve as an eye-catching reminder for drivers to stay out of the pedestrian-only paths.
Earlier this year, Union Square Partnership unveiled a $100 million proposal to make the neighborhood New York City’s “most accessible space,” by expanding Union Square Park by about two acres to the edges around the square and connecting landscaped plazas with safe, pedestrian-friendly space.
“We’re overjoyed to continue pedestrianizing Union Square with the introduction of Collective Vision,” Jennifer Falk, the executive director of the Union Square Partnership, said in a press release. “While the creation of the 14th Street Busway was an incredible first step in rethinking public space prior to the pandemic, the installation of the street mural goes further to highlight the wide, open areas in Union Square created to provide New Yorkers with ample, safe space to walk and enjoy.”
NYC DOT Art Program, Asphalt Art Activations (2021) “Rice Terraces” by Dasic Fernandez In partnership with DOT Public Space Unit and The Chinatown Partnership/BID. NYC Department on Transportation on Flickr
DOT has partnered with other neighborhood organizations to bring public art to the streets of New York, including the 4,800-square-foot mural “Rice Terrace” on Doyers Street in Chinatown, a vivid Vanderbilt Avenue mural “Carpet Collage,” and “Unity” on Jermone Avenue and East Gunhill Road.