Big art unfolding Downtown

Photo by Milo Hess
Artist Chinòn Maria will spend the next month laboring over a massive 200-foot-long mural at Site 5 in Albany Plaza on the World Trade Center Campus.

BY COLIN MIXSON

Call it the great wall of Lower Manhattan!

A Downtown business improvement district has commissioned a massive 200-foot mural on Site 5 in Albany Plaza on the World Trade Center campus — to make a public art canvas longer than two full-sized basketball courts. But while the original great wall was meant to keep people out, this one aims to bring people together.

The mural was commissioned by the Downtown Alliance the cover the 12-foot-tall wall bordering Albany Street between Greenwich and Washington streets with nine portraits that demonstrate humanity’s common heritage, from the cradle of civilization to the four corners of globe.

Artist Chinòn Maria started the massive 200-foot-long mural on Sept. 25, and curious locals are invited to view the process as she continues her labors over the course of the month, the painter said.

“We get a lot of people who live or work in that area of NYC, and it’s wonderful to see how excited they are to learn how where they have lunch everyday is evolving as part of this beautiful project,” said Maria.

Aside from its impressive dimensions, one of the most challenging aspects of completing such a massive, open-sir project is the weather, according to Maria, who said the grueling heat that persisted through the end of September turned her normally joyous work into something of chore.

But now that the temperature has cooled, it will be smooth sailing for the artist, who’s previous career as a professional alpine skier prepared her for working in chilly weather, she said.

“Concerning the rain and everything like that, I don’t mind to work in the rain,” Maria said.

In addition to the nine portraits, Maria has sent out an international message looking for kids interested in collaborating on the piece, and schools in Sweden, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Taiwan, and New Zealand are tasking students to submit words of peace, outlining their dream for a better future.

“Our goal to have over 5,000 children involved by submitting their words on the future of the world,” she said.

The artist is intent that the final vision of her gigantic mural be kept hidden until its completion, and is keeping her sketches of the design under lock and key to preserve the secret.

“We want people to be able to see it come to life,” Maria said. “The rendering is in a safe lock.”

Locals can spot Maria working six days a week, from 1–6 pm, Monday through Saturday, and she hopes to finish on Oct. 25.

Photo by Milo Hess
The public mural that will stretch as long as two basketball courts is going up near Albany Street as a celebration of humanity’s common heritage.

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