#108, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
The first time I passed by this wall on Wyckoff Street, it was a crisp autumn day a few months before the last election. The only thing more impressive than the stunning array of mosaics, beads, shells, and glittering jewelry glued to the side of the house was the stunning civic-mindedness of the house's inhabitant who'd set out hanging file holders stuffed with blank voter registration forms. Giving back to the community as both artist and citizen while the rest of the country was going around in a tension-filled bubble, muttering bipartisan hostilities, buying guns and/or looking for loopholes in Canadian citizenship websites? I didn't know what to gawk at first.
The artist behind the mosaics is Susan Gardner, an artist who lives at the address. Her mosaics immediately called to mind the lampposts of Jim "Mosaic Man" Power, whose work you've probably seen if you've ever taken a stroll through the East Village. (He's done nearly a hundred of them to date.) Gardner's creations are bright and whimsical and clearly the work of someone out to beautify the neighborhood one broken dish at a time. Of her work-in-progress she writes:
One day in 2001 I went outside and started gluing things to the front of my house. I have not stopped yet. My hope was to make a celebratory statement that would cheer and amuse. The neighborhood has embraced and encouraged the project. The joy of sharing it with strangers has made me very happy.