"Art Not Arrests", an spearheaded by local design firm Ground Up Designers, will get underway this Saturday at the Crow Hill Community Garden in Crown Heights.
The project has several elements, including a sculpture in the community garden and weekly youth art classes to be held this summer (also in the community garden).
The sculpture will incorporate hundreds of plastic handcuffs of the type used by police in riot control efforts. Ground Up is repurposing the cuffs as a symbol of both youth violence and overbearing police presence in the neighborhood.
Using funds from a Kickstarter campaign, Lana Zellner and Kristin Svorka of Ground Up have already purchased building materials and one thousand sets of plastic cuffs, which have been distributed to merchants throughout the neighborhood.
Community members can purchase, decorate, and donate a set of cuffs at a suggested price of $3. The cuffs will be used to build the sculpture; the money raised will fund art classes and a scholarship.
"All the money raised from now on will be spent 100% on art classes," Zellner said. "Our hope is to be able to fund the classes fully through the summer, and then also put together a scholarship for one kid who does really well to keep doing art classes with a teacher."
(To that end, Ground Up is looking for art teachers in the Crown Heights area willing to volunteer one or more days this summer. Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
First, though, the sculpture has to be erected. The building project will take place over the next two weekends, starting this Saturday with cleanup and ground levelling. Real construction will take place the following weekend, on Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st.
"Saturday will be measuring and cutting and drilling, and Sunday we’ll be building," Zellner said. "By the end of the day Sunday it will be finished and up."
Members of the community are welcome to stop by and help out at any time, she said.
For more information, check out Ground Up's website or www.artnotarrests.com.