NEW YORK, NY – Today, students, parents, community members, and elected officials joined together with New York City FC, representatives from the UAE, and Groundswell to celebrate PS 24’s new state-of-the-art soccer field and new student-designed mural at the site.
The soccer field was donated by the UAE Embassy as part of its ongoing commitment to help restore communities in New York and New Jersey that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. During the immediate aftermath of the storm, the UAE pledged $10 million for recovery efforts ($5 million in each state), to provide assistance to public schools and reconstruction work, and to fund the construction of all-weather playing fields.
New York City FC and its partner foundation, City in the Community, is currently providing ongoing, free afterschool soccer programming and coaching on the new field at PS 24 since the field opened in September.
In addition, Groundswell, New York City’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to community public art, today unveiled a beautiful new mural organized and designed by female students to enhance the playing field. To create this mural, 30 elementary school students reflected on their personal experiences as young girls during an intensive public artmaking program, presented with the support of the New York City Council through its STARS Citywide Girls Initiative.
Lead Artist Jessica Angel and Assistant Artist Nadia Wescott led the team as they collaboratively researched, designed, and fabricated this 9 x 60 ft. mural alongside the soccer field at PS 24, at 427 38th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232.
The new mural conveys the notions of healthy living, physical fitness, and teambuilding, all of which are necessary to build New York City children's futures. The mural depicts young girls playing soccer with a skyline full of NYC landmarks, including a soccer ball-patterned subway train. A banner reading "One team, One Dream, One Mission" reminds everyone who will see it of the power of team unity.
“We are proud to continue our important work in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It started with the construction of a state-of-the-art field at PS 24, made possible by an extremely generous donation from the UAE Embassy. We continued with City in the Community soccer programming and have delivered free afterschool programs to more than 200 kids over the past year,” said Jon Patricof, New York City FC President. “Today, we are excited to announce the completion of the latest initiative in this neighborhood. We are grateful that Groundswell has help us deliver a mural project that promotes equal access for both boys and girls to lead active lifestyles through soccer. In the UAE Embassy and Groundswell, we have two partners who share our dedication to make a difference in communities across the five boroughs.”
“Through our collaborative mural-making process, the artists have brought attention to the importance of fostering children’s love of sports, healthy living, and respect for teamwork. Lead Artist Jessica Angel’s vibrant design, inspired by contemporary painter Jules de Banlicourt, is fun and exuberant. By including landmarks that highlight iconic locations throughout New York City, this mural is a gift from Brooklyn youth to people from every borough and takes a love of soccer to a citywide scale,” said Rob Krulak, Groundswell's Interim Executive Director.
“I am excited to see first-hand the positive impact this soccer field is having on students at PS 24 and the community in Brooklyn,” said Majid Al Suwaidi, UAE Consul General in New York. “The UAE has supported the construction of soccer fields in New York City and eight other communities around the US. These fields provide safe places for kids to play and promote healthy lifestyles.”