Partnership with Tony Hawk to Build State-of-the-Art Skateparks in Brooklyn and the Bronx

By Stefanie Donayre |

Brooklyn’s skateboarding scene is set for significant upgrades as plans for improving recreational spaces in Brooklyn have been unveiled. In a collaborative effort to construct and enhance skateparks in both Brooklyn and the Bronx the City Council, The Skatepark Project (TSP)— formerly known as the Tony Hawk Foundation, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the New York City Parks Department, and The Pablo Ramirez Foundation have revealed details about their upcoming groundbreaking initiative, The Brooklyn Skate Garden.

In his third State of the City speech, Mayor Adams announced a $24 million project to develop the Brooklyn Skate Garden and fund a new skate park in the Bronx’s Soundview section, along with renovations for two other skate parks: Brower Skate Park in Crown Heights and Bronx Skate Park in Allerton.

“The Skatepark Project works to equip low-income, under-resourced communities with safe, free, and inclusive skateparks,” said Benjamin Anderson Bashein, TSP’s Executive Director, in an email interview. “We believe skateboarding to be a life-changing sport, one that is empowering for young people looking to build confidence and participate in their community.”

Lorne Michelle proposed the Brooklyn Skate Garden in memory of her late son and skateboarder, Pablo Ramirez, with the support of The Pablo Ramirez Foundation. This partnership aims to create a new recreational space for skaters of all ages, aligning with the foundation’s mission of promoting skateboarding and community engagement. The skate park will feature custom concrete design and security lighting, alongside upgrades like stadium seats and water fountains. The project also plans to include new amenities such as community gardens and event areas.

According to Councilwoman Crystal Hudson’s email newsletter, the proposed design covers ten percent of the park’s 7.79 acres, totaling 40,000 square feet. She believes the skatepark, despite being in Mount Prospect Park, will enhance everyone’s experience without negatively impacting the park or its visitors.

“…it will bring a much-needed revitalization of the park that will keep a majority of the existing open space completely untouched and available for use- even during construction- for community events, pick-up soccer games, dog walking, and all the myriad activities for which our neighbors currently use the park,” said Council Member Hudson in her newsletter.

Although general design concepts for the Brooklyn Skate Garden are outlined, the precise design is still being developed and will be open to public feedback. TSP and the Parks Department will organize community discussions to ensure the project aligns with community requirements and preferences.

“We envision Brooklyn Skate Garden to be an eco-space that meshes sports, environmental education, and the arts, while promoting sustainability and volunteerism,” states the Brooklyn Skate Garden website.

Progress on the skatepark will be shared in Council Member Hudson’s weekly email, inviting the community to take part in the project set to be completed by 2027, according to Time Out. The Brooklyn Skate Garden’s announcement demonstrates the city’s commitment to serving the diverse needs of its citizens and marks a significant advancement in the development of inclusive recreational areas for Brooklynites.

Eyesore: Bedford Library

Photo by Christine Stoddard.

Bedford Library is closed for a major heating and cooling upgrade; it is expected to reopen in Summer 2024. If you have an eyesore in your Brooklyn neighborhood that you would like us to highlight, send us a photo at

Girl Scouts of Greater New York kicks off 2024 Cookie Season in Brooklyn

Local Girl Scout Ashleigh Flanagan was the top cookie seller in Brooklyn last year.

By Linnea Mumma |

Girl Scout Cookie Season is officially underway. Over the course of cookie season, Girl Scouts will collect orders for cookies from their networks through their online Digital Cookie storefronts, where customers can purchase cookies for immediate shipping. Customers can visit to find local troops to support. For those who prefer to pick out their Girl Scout Cookies in person, Girl Scouts across the city will host their in-person booth sales throughout March and April.

Ashleigh Flanagan, 2023 Top Cookie Seller in Brooklyn.

This year, due to the rising costs of goods and services nationwide, cookies in New York City will increase to $7 a box in order to better support Girl Scout programming. All proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Program in New York City remain in the five boroughs to help fund the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, with a portion of each sale going directly to the troop to support their activities. The new price will allow a 50% increase in the amount of funds that go directly back to NYC troops, empowering those involved in the program to make the most of their Girl Scout experience.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the world. It helps girls develop five essential skills that set them up for success: goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics, and people skills.

“Every year, Girl Scouts across all five boroughs of New York City get to showcase their own businesses and learn how to deal with money, all while making new friends and meeting new people during Girl Scout Cookie Season,” said Meridith Maskara, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater New York. “I’m always so proud to see girls challenge themselves to reach new heights through their cookie goals. They always rise to the occasion and show off what it means to be a Girl Scout.”

Proceeds from the sale will also go towards supporting Troop 6000, which launched in 2017 as a first-of-its-kind program to serve families living in temporary housing in the New York City shelter system. This past year, Troop 6000 expanded to serve the influx of asylum seekers that came into New York City. Girls in Troop 6000 have their own digital cookie sale website, as well as in-person booth sales throughout March and April.

For those who want to support Girl Scouts and give back, boxes can be donated to service organizations to bring joy to those in need through the Gift of Caring program. This year, all donated cookies will be distributed to food pantries in NYC, providing a pick-me-up to families facing food insecurity.

“Being a top Girl Scout cookie seller gives my troop the money to do the activities we want to do, such as going to the Statue of Liberty, camping, and gardening. We also get to buy and donate needed supplies to our local homeless shelter with the funds that we raise from cookie sales,” said Ashleigh Flanagan, local Girl Scout and 2023 Top Cookie Seller in Brooklyn.

Girl Scouts who sell more than 500 boxes of cookies qualify to become members of Girl Scouts of Greater New York’s Cookie Executive Committee. “Cookie Executives” are invited to participate in regular professional development workshops, inform and plan the Girl Scout Cookie Program in New York City, choose incentives girls can earn, and more.

Avi Spatz, Julia Lin and Mai McCarthy claim the titles of top Girl Scout cookie sellers overall, having sold 11,763 boxes of cookies in total during the 2023 season.

The Brooklyn Downtown Star/Greenpoint Star asked last year’s top Brooklyn seller,  Ashleigh Flanagan, about how she succeeds in selling cookies and what the task has taught her. She responsed to questions via email, with assistance from her mother. Her answers have been condensed here:

“I make videos to post on my parent’s social media with my Digital Cookie link promoting my sale and knocked on doors in my Bay Ridge neighborhood. But my favorite way to sell cookies is to find a popular place where people are walking by and set up a pop-up cookie booth. I want inspire other Girl Scouts to know that anything is possible if you are willing to put in the work.”

Selling cookies helps me work on my business strategy skills.  I come up with ideas of new places to sell at, I practice my responses for when people say “no thank you” to me, and I sharpen my change making skills.”

Facebook Groups for Our Brooklyn Communities

By Stefanie Donayre |

Providing more than just a platform to post pictures, social media outlets like Facebook have created virtual communities that strengthened neighborhood dynamics. These groups provide residents with the platforms to share, exchange, and support fellow neighbors in their area. Below is a list compiled of active Facebook Groups that are relevant to residents, both former and current, of the North and Central Brooklyn areas:

“Greenpoint; Our Home”

This private group is dedicated to those who were born and raised in Greenpoint and its neighboring areas. From relevant memes, news articles, and pictures, the members of the group reminisce about the Greenpoint they knew growing up. This nostalgic group invites members to share their memories of family get-togethers, block parties, pizza shops, and more.

“Greenpoint Sharing”

Intending to build solidarity, minimize waste, and meet community needs through a collaborative network, the “Greenpoint Sharing” group is a source for reusing, sharing, and gifting items. Members in the group post free items they no longer need, and share curb finds and relevant links that may benefit others in Greenpoint.

“Greenpoint & Williamsburg Community Group”

Serving the people of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, this group is an outlet for neighborhood news, volunteer opportunities, events, and essential information. Like other neighborhood groups, this group allows business groups in the area to share details about their services but also works to organize public meetups at events based on their member feedback.

“Greenpoint Neighbors!”

Interactions from sharing local news and events in the area, asking, and answering questions, and building relationships with one another help foster a neighborly and polite environment within this group. Some of the group’s recent posts include promoting local clothing swaps, events, and furniture listings.

“Buy Nothing Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY”

Following the rules of the “Buy Nothing” community groups in other areas, this page operates on its members in the Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and East Williamsburg areas gifting and receiving items to their fellow neighbors for free. However, due to popular demand, the wait to be approved to join this group may take a while.

“Williamsburg Community Group BK, NY”

This community serves as a forum for Williamsburg residents to sell goods, share local news, and exchange ideas. It gives residents space to interact with one another, meet, and converse.

“Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY”   

This public group of 16.4k members is open to those who are either new to Bushwick, previous residents of the area, or are friends. While most groups allow small business to advertise their services or products, this group prohibits it.

“North Brooklyn Puzzle Swap”

If you have a passion for puzzles and reside in North Brooklyn, this puzzle community invites you to join their group to trade and share puzzles for free. Members can discuss their favorite puzzle brands, techniques, and thoughts on puzzle building and are invited to participate in the group’s in-person Puzzle Swaps and Picnic events.

“Williamsburg Weekly”

Williamsburg locals are provided with up-to-date information on the latest developments, from new restaurants, retail, festivals, hotels, and schools, in the area.

“You Probably Lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the 80s If You Remember”

Sharing firsthand recollections of Williamsburg during the 80s, this group is dedicated to those who lived in the Williamsburg area during the 1980s. In each post, members share recollections and previous experiences from that specific era of the neighborhood.

“North Brooklyn Events”

Looking for the perfect activity in North Brooklyn? Look no further than the North Brooklyn Events group. The group’s members post and submit local events such as art openings, open mics, rallies, sample sales, and more. This group differs from other groups in the area as it focuses on only social, civic, and cultural events in North Brooklyn.

“North Brooklyn Community”

This group is dedicated to sharing up-to-date information on news and events in the North Brooklyn area with locals.

“Bushwick, Williamsburg, & Ridgewood Pet Sitting & More Exchange”

This group advertises pet sitting, daycare, walks, and check-ins for pet owners in Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Ridgewood. Group members can post detailed descriptions and images of their animals and list the services they provide or are looking for to reach interested group members. To improve the comfort and safety of both pet owners and those offering trade services, the group guidelines emphasize the significance of in-person meetings before scheduling an arrangement.

“Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn”

Providing information on relevant activities, businesses, and events all within Bedford Stuyvesant, this group aims to build community engagement. Bedford Stuyvesant residents are encouraged to join and visit the group often to stay up to date with the latest news.


This public group with 3.3K members consists of residents, former residents, and those who are interested in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The group serves as a medium for sharing information and experiences relevant to the Bedford-Stuyvesant community and engaging in conversations on local history, restaurants, and community events. Participating group members most recently posted about local music events, resourceful webinars, and medical mobile vans in the area.

“Bushwick Community”

Deriving from The North West Bushwick Community Group’s mission of voicing and supporting community needs with local non-profits and elected officials, this Bushwick group continues to be an outlet to address community needs. Group members tend to post items in need or small businesses, ranging from cleaning services to nail technicians.

“Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Brooklyn Neighbors”

This page provides an outlet for conversations on a range of subjects, such as local news, events, programs, food, culture, safety, and criminal activity. The group admin encourages local businesses and organizations to promote their events and activities in this group. Unlike most Brooklyn neighborhood groups, this community’s rules state that no commercial and real estate listings are allowed to be posted unless the group members are selling their apartment or home in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, or surrounding areas.

“Crown Heights Brooklyn”

As a resource for locals and companies located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this group exchanges insightful information on small businesses and residents to foster community collaboration. Recently shared activities in the Crown Heights area include art exhibits, recommendations for eateries, and small business promotions from networking sessions to dog sitter services.

“Bushwick Mutual Aid”

From donating baby formula to sharing job opportunities, the members of the Bushwick Mutual Aid Facebook group actively support one another through neighborly assistance. A unique aspect of this group is their members’ volunteer participation and an active GoFundMe, to fund their efforts of securing a storefront to distribute weekly free hot meals and other items indoors during the winter instead of their primary location at Maria Hernandez Park.

“Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn Community”

The Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn Community group is a platform for members to advertise their services and skills to the Bedford-Stuyvesant community.

Letter From the Editor (Feb. 15, 2024 Edition)

By Christine Stoddard |

Dear readers,

As I am writing this, another snowstorm has hit New York City. We humans are still so vulnerable in the face of nature’s whims. In 8th grade, I remember being assigned an essay with the prompt “Does Mother Nature or mankind have the upper hand? Explain.” I could probably write a different essay to answer this question for every year of my life on this planet. With industrialization, transportation, and any number of other human activities, we ravage the earth. Yet humanity has so many weaknesses when it comes to natural disasters. We are constantly at the mercy of extreme temperatures and precipitation, shifting tectonic plates, and furious seas.

This thought occurred to me once again when I recently visited Floyd Bennett Field. As you will read in my column “Believe the Hype” this week, I needed to witness just how bad the conditions were at the park itself. I wasn’t thinking about recreation; I was thinking about the migrant family shelter, where about 2,000 parents and children are living in tents. My mind was on the rainstorm that attacked the park (and the rest of our region) back in January, but I also wondered about public transportation there. After all, when you are waiting for a bus, which is the only public transportation option in that far-off swath of South Brooklyn, you are exposed to the elements. Some bus stops might have a modest roofed shelter. This one does not. It is not a pleasant place to be when it is raining hard or there are strong gusts of wind. Now that there is snow coming down hard, I can only imagine how much more unpleasant the wait at that bus stop must be. When you are a new arrival to this country, fleeing immense poverty and violence, chances are good that you do not have a car waiting for you here. You take the bus and, in areas where it is possible, the subway.

This morning, on my way to the office, I trudged through the snow, across uncleared sidewalks and through an even less cleared park. I took the train, first the G, underground, where the interior walkways were slippery with ice and covered in puddles the closer I got to the tracks. Then I transferred to the 7, walking up wet steps and onto a train that wobbled on tracks aboveground. Today, at least, I felt that Mother Nature has the upper hand.

Yours in all things BK,

Christine Stoddard

Brooklyn Community Editor

GLOwanus–Using Light To Influence Water Quality

Brooklynites can turn to this lantern made of recycled plastics the next time a city-issued waterbody advisory is issued.

By Lauren Peacock |

It’s scary to think that a combined sewer overflow (CSO) could be happening on your streets even when it’s not visibly flooding.

A CSO can be caused by as little as a 1/12 of an inch of rain and can result in sewage being carried into the Gowanus Canal, hindering clean-up efforts. At the time of a CSO, all water is diverted into the Gowanus Canal. By reducing water consumption, the CSO is reduced, keeping the canal healthier, cleaner, and vibrant.

GLOwanus was created to make NYC waterbody advisory alerts easier to understand for residents. When the city issues an alert for the Gowanus Canal, the lantern will emit vivid colors and continue to do so until the waterboard advisory is lifted. When the colored lights come on, this tells residents that they should be cutting back on their water usage, whether that be waiting to wash dishes, flush the toilet, or do the laundry.

GLOwanus was created by Francesca Bastianini (Sight Studio) and Steven Koller (Environmental Science and Policy PhD student), two fellows from Van Alen Institute’s Neighborhood Design Fellowship program, and was designed by artists Manav Singla and Ridima Jain.

The Gowanus Canals are a superfund site. According to Bastianini, this means that despite the rapid change and development of the neighborhood, it is still undergoing repair from a long history of pollution, and ongoing pollution from an overwhelmed sewer system.

According to Andrew Brown, the Director of Programs at Van Alen, when there’s no city-issued waterbody advisory, the light glows white. When an advisory is issued, the light flashes different rainbow colors. Each color doesn’t specifically mean something, but the rainbow colors are meant to draw people’s attention so that they realize there is a City-issued waterbody advisory, meaning there’s a good chance combined sewage overflow (CSO) has recently spilled or may soon spill into the Canal.

The lanterns are made out of recycled plastics, creating a durable and translucent product that transmits light all around and avoids creating new plastic. According to Bastianini, the prototype of the lantern was created from the VAI Gowanus fellowship in 2021, and the current product was completed in the fall of 2023.

Instructions for the open-source code and 3D printing for the lantern are available. Shiloah Coley, the Program Associate at Van Alen, says that providing this information to the public makes it easier for other communities and neighborhoods that are interested in creating a product like the GLOwanus lantern to do so.

“We learned so much working on this, and we want to make sure other communities and individuals have access to this knowledge and feel encouraged to build on it,” explained Coley.

Bastianini hopes that the GLOwanus lanterns will not only expand on a large public scale, but expand awareness, provide prompts and support for local advocacy, and keep “pressure on agencies to follow through with their local officials.”

Coley hopes the lanterns help Gowanus residents feel empowered by providing the information they need during a CSO.

“That way if they choose to, they can act and adjust their own water usage habits. It would be great to see other folks build on our open-source code to make light installations in other neighborhoods.”

Approximately 20 to 25 GLOwanus lanterns are left at time of press. If anyone is interested in picking one up, you can email Shiloah Coley at

Vibe and Vibrancy: Interview with Artist Fred Bendheim

Artist Describes Shaped Paintings and Public Art Designed by Intuition

By Meagan J. Meehan |

Vividly colored shapes and overlaid hues are combined to create eye-catching and vibrant sculptural paintings which first take root in the mind of artist Fred Bendheim who subsequently brings these abstract visions to life in his Prospect Heights studio. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Fred apprenticed with artist Philip Curtis—a founding artist of The Phoenix Art Museum—when he was a teenager. Fred then attended The University of California, Davis, where he studied art with William T. Wiley and Wayne Thiebaud before earning a B.A. in Art from Pomona College. He started his career as a professional artist in San Francisco, California, and exhibited his unique pieces at SFMoMA.

In 1984, Fred moved to Brooklyn and has stayed in New York ever since. His work has appeared at The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, The Montclair Art Museum, The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Museum of Costa Rica, The Neiman-Marcus Collection, Bradley International Airport, The Brooklyn Public Library, Sotheby’s Realty and many more. Fred is also a muralist who has completed four public murals—including two large painted murals in Brooklyn. His artworks can be found in South Korea, Costa Rica, Italy and Germany and he is presently represented by several New York galleries including Julie Keyes Fine Art, 490 Atlantic Gallery, and 440 Gallery.

As with many artists of the modern age, Fred also holds a part-time job…albeit one that is firmly rooted in the creative arena: he is a teaching artist at The Art Students League of New York and he has also instructed students at The College of Mt. Saint Vincent, Young Audiences of New York, The Brooklyn Museum, and Learning Leaders.

Fred feels that his artistic inspirations come from a strong sense of intuition, composition and design; form, line, and color are his means of communicating specific feelings and his art spans boundaries between painting, sculpture, figuration and abstraction. Currently, Fred is keeping himself busy working on a brand-new series of abstract-shaped paintings for shows in New York galleries including Brooklyn’s 440 Gallery and 490 Atlantic Gallery.

Fred recently discussed his art and career via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in art and how did you develop your original style?

Fred Bendheim (FB): As a child I was lucky to grow up in an interesting house full of art. My parents had art from their families from Germany and New York, and they collected some contemporary artists, and Native American artists where we lived in Arizona. They also made some art, ceramics and wood carvings. I remember my father once made napkin holders from the skeletons of cacti. The desert landscape was always present as well, which had a visual influence on me. My style developed slowly over fifty years of making art and has gone through many permutations.

MM: You are known for your sculptural wall hangings, but you have also created fountains! What is that process like and where can the general public see these fountains?

FB: I’ve always been fascinated by water and all of the forms it takes, and I have made about five fountains/sculptures over the years. Two are made from stone and concrete and are permanently on display in Arizona (one in a Frank Lloyd Wright building in Scottsdale). The others were temporary and more whimsical—one was made from suspending celery stalks which I used as channels for the water. For another fountain I used plastic forms and translucent hoses. The sound of the water is important as well. I’ve also painted themes of water over the years. Several years ago, I had a mini-retrospective on the theme of water. It’s a theme I return to. Water is always water, but always different, like a river is never the same water from moment to moment. Its sameness flows into its mutability.

MM: You also make public art, such as murals. So, where can Brooklynites see your murals and how did these opportunities come to you?

FB: I’ve made several murals and public art pieces in New York. Some were temporary installations, like “Song For Harlem” (2013) which was commissioned by Chashama for a large storefront in Harlem. I covered the windows with cut yellow paper, and then installed blue lights inside the building, so the appearance changed from day to night. I’ve also collaborated with young student artists and had their art printed on billboards on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, and I made a mural from food packaging for a grocery store with students. The murals I was very proud of were two large site-specific murals I made for Industry City in 2019 called “Creationism” and “Evolution.” They were very successful works and were well-received by the public. They were mostly abstract but had some recognizable features like snakes and a figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Unfortunately, the murals were destroyed. People ask me why, and I can’t explain it, except to say these people had different notions about art than I do. I think they were interested in using art as PR via social media posts. So, the more posts of different art, the more PR (and profits). Since then, and because many people complained about their destruction, I believe they have changed their policy with regards to murals they commission, but it came too late for my murals. So, I learned a painful lesson about making public art. I don’t think people realize the extent of work and feelings that goes into artmaking. It can feel similar to making (and losing) a child.

MM: You grew up in Arizona and spent a lot of your early adulthood in California but now you live and work in Brooklyn. How does the art scene in Brooklyn compare to the one out West?

FB: I’ve been in Brooklyn since 1984 and I’ve seen a lot of changes here. I did spend my early years out west but can’t really say what the art scene is like there now. Generally speaking, there’s more art and less nature here in NYC, but I continue to be inspired by nature, even if it’s an internalized nature. Brooklyn probably has more artists than anywhere in the world, and more galleries are popping up here. I live near the Brooklyn Museum which is a great resource. I like art that is universal in its appeal. The subject matter can be anything: Brooklyn, political or abstract feeling-based art, but the form and structure has to be universal, so no matter when and where it’s seen it’s still relevant. I’ve recently moved my studio to my home in Prospect Heights. I have a lot of plants in two gardens, so I’m sure that will affect my art.

MM: Do you feel that the vibrancy of Brooklyn inspires you at all and what’s your favorite thing about being a Brooklyn-based artist?

FB: I like being able to see the sky in Brooklyn, as opposed to being in the more closed spaces of Manhattan. I like having some outdoor spaces to play in here. Space is very important both physical and mental space.

MM: How did you find gallery and museum representation for your work?

FB: New York has a lot of opportunities for artists. Some of it is networking and there’s some luck involved too.

MM: You have art in Neiman Marcus stores—that’s actually how I initially found out about your work! How did that opportunity come to you?

FB: I have a painting called “Thundercloud” in the Neiman-Marcus collection on Long Island. That happened through an art consultant from the Bay Area that knew of my work.

MM: You’re a member of the 440 Gallery in Park Slope which is an artist collective. How has that helped you gain exposure for your work?

FB: 440 Gallery has been in Park Slope for almost twenty years. We have 15 artist members and an enthusiastic and dedicated following. I also show my work at 490 Atlantic Gallery in downtown Brooklyn. I had an exhibition there called Alltogethernow which consisted of twelve of my recent abstract shaped paintings.

MM: You work as an art teacher, so what is some of the advice that you give to budding artists?

FB: In technical terms I tell them that if the art isn’t working it’s a 99% chance it’s a compositional problem. Even if the color looks wrong, it’s composition. In terms of being an artist and having some ambitions for your art-good luck! Just keep going…

MM: Does working with students influence your own creativity at all?

FB: I like the energy of working with students, especially if they’re serious about their art. Sometimes the beginner’s mind is best for making art. Picasso said he spent years learning to paint like a master and spent his whole life learning to paint like a child.

MM: You have written articles about art for a British medical journal called The Lancet. How does art figure into a medical journal and what topics have your articles focused on?

FB: I wrote for The Lancet in a section they had on culture. I wrote mostly reviews of art shows, and I wrote a series of articles on science and art. Through those articles, I was invited to attend a forum on “Art and Astronomical Phenomena” in Venice, where I showed some of my work dealing with astronomical themes.

MM: Be honest, out of all of your creations, do you have any particular favorite piece?

FB: My murals at Industry City were art that I was very proud of. The twelve paintings I had on display at 490 Atlantic are some of my favorites. I also have some earlier work that I’m pleased with in hotels, hospitals and in storage. I am proud of my body of work consisting of hundreds of paintings, drawings and collage work.

MM: You have had an incredible international career, but what would you say has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

FB: I’ve enjoyed doing art residencies in Costa Rica. I’ve been going there since 2001 and it’s been a nice place to work and do some things I wouldn’t normally do here in Brooklyn, like use the tropical foliage and leaf-cutter ants to make art. I am going to Mexico soon to see the art there.

MM: Can you tell us a little more about the new art that you’re actively making?

FB: I’ve recently been working in aluminum. Sometimes I paint on it, and sometimes I use it raw. I use conventional tools for drawing as well as an iPad to design them. I have them laser cut (instead of doing the cutting myself like I usually do). Making them in aluminum allows the forms to be more varied, thinner for instance, and they can be shown outside.

MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

FB: I’d like more people to see my work, so I’m looking around for new places to show it, including more public spaces. I’d also like to teach more and perhaps travel with my work. The artists at the 440 Gallery and I will be traveling to Berlin this July for a group show at a gallery there. We are doing an exchange show with EP Contemporary Gallery in Berlin, so the artists from Berlin will be showing at 440 Gallery in June and then we will go to Berlin in July.

To learn more about Fred, visit his official website: You can also follow him on Instagram @artist_fredbendheim.

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