A small valley in Prospect Park is alive with sound and movement — the squeaking of thousands of whirling pinwheels installed as part of the Connective Project, a temporary art installation in the Rose Garden.
The installation of more than 7,000 pinwheels opened to the public on July 7 and is on display just until July 17th. A collaboration between the Prospect Park Alliance, AREA4 and Reddymade Architecture and Design, the immersive work is part of this year’s 150th anniversary celebrations for the park.
Brooklyn artists and the general public were invited to submit artwork for the project. Selected pieces were used to create pinwheels — constructed of weather-resistant paper — which were then placed in undulating waves throughout the three sections of the garden. Visitors can meander amongst the pinwheels, lounge on temporary seating and step into the pools for alternate views of the work.
“When Prospect Park first began planning the festivities around the parks’ 150th anniversary our main goal was to celebrate the diverse communities that make the park truly Brooklyn’s back yard. What better way to bring that community into the celebration than to incorporate their love of the park through their photos and artwork,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator at the official opening of the installation on Friday.
The project is also designed to bring more visitors and attention to a section of the park that is often overlooked. The 2.5 acre Rose Garden is one area of the park that hasn’t seen renovation — or even roses — in recent years.
The Rose Garden is located in the northeast corner of the park, near the Vale of Cashmere. Originally a playground, in 1895 it was transformed into a garden, laid out by Rudolph Ulrich who had been the Superintendent of Landscape for the World’s Columbia Exposition in Chicago. The garden featured three pools designed by architectural firm McKim, Mead and White to hold aquatic plants — including a massive Amazonian lily.
By 1969, the roses were gone and the pools, briefly transformed with fountains, dried up once the water was permanently turned off.
The garden is now poised to get a renovation and the Connective Project is part of an effort to raise public awareness about the area. “We hope through this project park lovers will discover this beautiful, hidden corner of the park,” said Donoghue.
In June, the Prospect Park Alliance, working in conjunction with Hester Street Collaborative (a non-profit that seeks to improve the physical environments of underprivileged New York City neighborhoods), held a community design workshop to seek input on how the renovations should take shape.
More community engagement activities are planned as part of the planning process and there is still a chance to make a pinwheel – pinwheel making activities will be offered at the installation and at Grand Army Plaza during the run of the exhibition. For more information on the activities click here.
If you have trouble finding the Rose Garden, keep an eye out for the yellow pinwheels stamped onto the walkways.
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