Atlantic Terminal Mall and Center celebrated the beginning of summer on Saturday with FamilyFest, a public shindig featuring kids’ activities and a community mural painting led by Patrick Dougher, a Brooklyn mixed-media painter and residential artist at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA).

Police blocked off Fort Green Place from Atlantic Avenue to Hanson Place to make room for booths set up by the Brooklyn Nets, New York Chess & Games, Marquis Studios, Auster Agency and the Brooklyn Public Library Book Mobile. Kids and their parents strolled past the various activity stations, lounged on Adirondack chairs, enjoyed foods from local food trucks and danced to music spun by DJ Ace.

Yokey Pokey VR hosted a virtual reality experience in which children could immerse themselves in an underwater landscape filled with whales, jellyfish and coral reefs. Applebees and Cold Stone Creamery set up prize wheels and gave away free desserts and ice cream.

Patrick Dougher stands in front of the "Spread Love" mural
Patrick Dougher stands in front of the “Spread Love” mural. Photo credit: Charlie Innis for BK Reader

We wanted to give people an event with a Brooklyn feel, said Evan Walke, portfolio manager of Madison International Realty, the company that owns Atlantic Terminal Center.

With help from a few kids and parents, Dougher created a mural on Atlantic Mall’s western wall depicting children under the words Spread Love, a phrase inspired by Notorious B.I.G.’s famed track “Juicy.” 

The idea is that though were from this tough place what we do is spread love, said Dougher, who conceptualized the mural with MoCADA.

Dougher said the murals imagery speaks to the divinity of ordinary people, a common theme throughout his work. In the mural, West African Adinkra symbols represent principals such as unity and strength, among others, while crowns hovering over the childrens heads symbolize royalty and serve as a nod to another iconic Brooklyn artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

When we were putting up the design, people walking by said they were so happy and inspired by the message, said Dougher.

FamilyFest is the first of three season-oriented events planned by Madison International Realty, an effort to draw people to the shopping center and help build community, said Walke.

The next community event will be taking place during the holiday season. And to give Brooklynites an additional incentive to come to the shopping center, Madison International Realty will install public WiFi around the plaza in the coming months.

Charlie Innis

I am a freelance writer and editor based in Bushwick with bylines in Spin, Stereogum, the Billfold, and the New School Free Press. If you want to hear me talk nonstop for hours, ask me about Clarice Lispector. Reach...

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