A diverse, close-knit community is at the heart of SJC Brooklyn.
The College celebrates its diversified community through a wide range of clubs and academic programming catering to many interests, encouraging students to join together in community service efforts, and getting involved. And last year, St. Joseph’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Week was a huge success.
The value of community spreads further than the boundaries of the SJC Brooklyn campus. The Clinton Hill/Fort Greene neighborhoods boast with community pride, and its residents celebrate the diversity among them.
In fact, Ellie Balk, a former Brooklynite who presented at the College’s latest Artist Talk, created a mural next to the SJC Brooklyn campus highlighting that very interconnectedness experienced between the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill communities. The mural — on the side of The Great Georgiana, on the corner of DeKalb and Vanderbilt avenues — brightly depicts a map of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. It resides at the exact space, the exact center, both east and west and north and south, of where the neighborhoods meet.
Titled “You Are Here,” the mural encourages visitors to make a dot on the mural where they live. The dot helps “celebrate home” for old and new residents, Balk explained.
“I took a map, and I took away all the street names to kind of abstract it,” Balk said of her mural, which she painted in 2008. “If you’re from the neighborhood, you know exactly what it is. You look at it and you say, ‘That’s the Navy Yard, that’s Fulton, that’s DeKalb.’ And if you’re not from the neighborhood, you might just see it as a tapestry.”
Balk said the mural prompted her to think about what defines community and the way people connect with their surroundings.
“I am reminded of Ellie almost every time I walk down DeKalb Avenue because one of her works is on the side of the building…” said Romona Candy, director of Council for the Arts, which sponsors the Artist Talk series. “It’s still there. If you get a chance, walk by. It’s been in the neighborhood for many, many years.”
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