At the GrandScale Mural Project in East Harlem: Ralph Serrano, Anjl, Dister, Anna Lustberg, Toofly, Alexis Duque, Shiro, Funqest, Christy Ayala, Rob Ayala, Project Curator Ayana Ayo and More

September 28, 2019

For three weekends this past month, dozens of artists were at work transforming three blocks of fencing located adjacent to the 125th Street Metro-North into a vibrant, intriguing outdoor gallery. While visiting last weekend, we had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its dynamic curator, Ayana Ayo.

This project is wonderful. We love the way it transforms the neighborhood, while bringing so many folks together to celebrate its renewal. How did you come to curate it?

I work with Carey King, the Executive Director of the Uptown Grand Central — a nonprofit dedicated to transforming East 125th Street and enriching life in East Harlem. I had earlier curated the 100 Gates Project in this neighborhood, and I loved the idea of bringing life to a space that has been vacant for the past ten years.

In addition to beautifying the neighborhood and uplifting its spirit, how would you define this project’s mission?

I was interested in giving an opportunity to artists — many who live uptown – to come together share their visions in a public space. Several of these artists have never painted outdoors before. Others have international reputations. All feel a strong connection to the neighborhood.

Over 50 artists have participated in this project. It’s an amazingly eclectic group. How did you connect with so many talented artists to see this project through?

I sent out a call to artistst describing the project’s mission of transforming “1,500 feet of green construction fencing into a vibrant gateway to Harlem.”  And I spoke to artists I know who, I thought, would be interested in participating in the project. The word got around!

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing this project through?

Coordinating the schedules of over 50 artists; winning over the local people, so that they felt engaged with the project and having to turn down artists who wanted to participate.

How are you feeling now — that it’s just about complete in time forUptown Grand Central’s third annual street festival, Party on Park?

Over the moon! I am so happy.

What’s ahead?

More opportunities for Uptown Grand Central, as it continues its transformation of East Harlem!

So exciting! And congratulations on the Grand Scale Mural Project! 


1  Ralph Serrano and Anjl at work

2  Curator Ayana Ayo. standing in front of mural by Dister

Anna Lustberg at work


Alexis Duque with Shiro to his right

6  Funqest at work

Chris Ayala and Rob Ayala

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Ana Candelaria and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3 & 6 Ana Candelaria; 4, 5 & 7 Lois Stavsky

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Leon Labastide October 5, 2021 at 9:43 pm

October 05, 2021

Dear Community Partners:

Community Counseling and Mediation’s (CCM) Work, Learn and Grow Employment Program (WLG) would like to secure your support of our endeavors to provide meaningful job opportunities and educational experiences to New York City’s youth, ages 16-19. Here at CCM it is our firm belief that investing in our youth today is an investment in the leaders of tomorrow.

This year’s Work Learn and Grow program(WLG) is focusing around environmental cleanup.

The WLG program will be serving 3,500 participants that will be able to build their skills and be knowledgeable on helping their community that has been affected by disaster or have been neglected. The focus will be green jobs, building the environment by justice and beautification for the communities.

Out of the 3500 participants, CCM will be taking on approximately 60 to 100 participants this 2021-2022 program cycle. CCM is looking to partner with our local businesses and community partners in these different categories: wildlife conservatory, community gardens, community murals, beautification of community, Maintenance, NYPD graffiti removals, parks department and the museums.

In order for participants to qualify for the program, they must be in school and have participated in the summer youth employment 2021 program (SYEP). They must range from ages 16 to 19 and will be able to work 10 hours for the week. Participants will be receiving wages of $15.00per hour. Participants are allowed to work after school for two hours a day Monday through Friday, participants can work on Saturday if the job permits it.

WLG Dates:

10/14/21 Application release and enrollment orientation begins

10/28/21 Application deadline

11/8/21 Program starts

03/5/22 Program ends

If you would like to partner with us feel free to contact us back and let us know that you are interested in this program.

Leon Labastide
Job Developer / Supervisor


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