The ‘Art in the Parks: Active Open Space’ initiative awarded $100,000 to eight community-based organizations to install public art that promotes physical activity and community connectivity in neighborhoods with high rates of chronic diseases

Art installation in Brower Park, installed earlier in the Fall. Photo credit: Walter Wlodarczyk

The Health Department announced on Tuesday the installation of eight new public artworks in parks in the Central Brooklyn, South Bronx and East Harlem with the goal to promote physical activity in neighborhoods severely affected by chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The artworks, which range from murals to interactive sculpture, were developed with the participation of community members.

“Public art is an important feature of safe places to raise healthy children and families,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I encourage Brooklynites to get active and enjoy open spaces like Brower Park, Howard Park and Lincoln Terrace Park, which will feature great artistic pieces in the year ahead.”

City data shows: Central Brooklyn, East Harlem and the South Bronx have disproportionately poor health outcomes with regards to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

One in three adults in Central Brooklyn is obese which can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Central Brooklyn residents have the sixth-highest rate of diabetes and the neighborhood ranks first in hospitalizations for avoidable clinical care for diabetes. Heart disease is the most common cause of death. To fight these diseases, experts recommend a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables – and at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Thus, the “Art in the Parks: Active Open Space” initiative awarded $100,000 to eight community-based organizations to install public art that promotes physical activity and community connectivity in neighborhoods with disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, hoping to reach 400,000 New Yorkers who live within a 10-minute walk of the neighborhood parks.

“The Active Open Space initiative encourages residents of East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Central Brooklyn to be physically active in their local parks,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “By supporting public art, community engagement and opportunities for physical activity in parks located in traditionally underserved neighborhoods, this initiative helps to advance our goal of creating a more equitable city for all New Yorkers.”

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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