About the Bird: This 250-foot-long mural on the eastern edge of Montefiore Square is a visual “love letter” from youth artists to the Hamilton Heights neighborhood where it is located. The design includes a Yellow Warbler, a welcome springtime sight in New York City and across the United States. The warbler's bright, sweet song and open, cuplike nest are clues to its presence in woods, thickets, and even gardens. Though the Yellow Warbler is widespread today, rising temperatures are poised to push the species out of its breeding range in most of the lower 48 states. Keeping warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels could preserve half of that range.
The youth artists added two more birds to the mural, including a Peregrine Falcon, a species that has since bounced back from the devastation caused by DDT and other pesticides. Today the raptor is a year-round resident of New York City and regularly nest on all of its bridges. Because the Peregrine Falcon has proven resilient and adaptable it is not thought to be in imminent danger from rising temperatures, but it does face other climate-change-related perils, like more severe wildfires and spring heat waves that may endanger the bird's young.
About the Artists: The nonprofit Creative Art Works empowers young people through the visual and multimedia arts. It works in underserved neighborhoods of New York City in public schools, community centers, parks, and libraries to provide dynamic art-making experiences for youth who otherwise lack access. Students are never charged for participation in its programs. Instead, Creative Art Works hires Youth Apprentices directly and acts as a worksite manager with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development Summer Youth Employment Program.
The Youth Apprentices who produced this mural, called “Monte de Flores,” come from all five boroughs of New York City; they created and executed it in just six weeks. “It was cool to make art with other people, because, for the last couple of years, it’s just been me,” says Izzy Brinks, a student at Bard Queens. “Hopefully, this mural will make this park a better place.”
The team included Teaching Artist Will Watson; Teaching Artist Assistants Erika Sabel, Liv Mourao, and Madeline De Leon; and Youth Apprentices Alecia Correa, Amyah Adrien, Anthony Batista, Aysyah Brown, Boris Gonzalez, Carl Delos Santos, Danial Brown, David Tovar, Dayanara Brooks, Gabriella Castilla, Gavin Willis, Izzy Brinks, Jonathan Hyman, Jose Fleitas, Julia Klein, Kayla Newton, Kaylin Williams, Kit Souvorova, Leslie Encarnacion, Letizia Gomez Caraballo, Lindsey Flores, Lyndia Guerrier, Mya Gomez, Nathan Tejeda, Runrun Chen, Sai Gomez, and Sophia Zorrilla.