“Seeing into Tomorrow” — a major new public art project featuring the haiku of Richard Wright launches in Downtown Brooklyn
August 30, 2021
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) and DUMBO Improvement District (Dumbo) today announced the launch of The Poetry Society of America’s Seeing Into Tomorrow, a series of murals throughout Brooklyn that celebrate the short poems of Richard Wright. Designed by Doyle Partners, the project commemorates the achievements of a major Black writer, who lived on Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene in the 1930s, while also inspiring residents and visitors alike to “read” the city in new ways. The project builds on The Poetry Society of America’s long history of creating innovative public poetry projects to serve new and underserved audiences.
With sites throughout the Downtown Brooklyn area, ranging from cultural landmarks like BRIC and the Mark Morris Dance Center to small stores at the NYCHA Whitman Houses and bigbelly solar recycling units along the Fulton Mall, Seeing Into Tomorrow is one of the projects funded through the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, under New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Part of the State’s approach to create vibrant neighborhoods and boost local economies, DRI investments are a crucial part of the State’s strategy to revitalize communities. With Seeing Into Tomorrow, Doyle’s renderings of Wright’s poems transform public spaces into sites of inspired language, sparkling wonder, and new connections.
Best known for his searing depictions of racial injustice in books such as Native Son and Black Boy, Wright spent the final 18 months of his life creating his own distinctive versions of haiku, the traditional Japanese verse form. Wright’s haiku are a defiant act of hope in the midst of his experiences of racial injustice, a crossing of cultures and traditions that 60 years later continues to offer us a vision for a different “tomorrow.”
“Seeing Into Tomorrow showcases the poems of Richard Wright in dramatic and unexpected ways, bringing together neighborhoods and communities through the power of imaginative language,” says Matt Brogan, Executive Director of the Poetry Society. “We are grateful to the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund for their affirmation of the place of poetry in public life.”
“Richard Wright’s poems and legacy are an important piece of Brooklyn’s history and Seeing Into Tomorrow will breathe new life into our public spaces through the powerful forces of art and language,” said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Thanks to the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, we are excited to reintroduce Wright’s celebrated work in a creative way that also invites exploration of our neighborhood.”
“What a treat it will be to come across poetry as you go about your day in Downtown Brooklyn. I love this project and the chance to highlight the important works of Richard Wright,” adds Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Improvement District.
Seeing Into Tomorrow is one of twelve new public art and performance projects and five accessibility upgrades to cultural venues that are taking place throughout the greater Downtown Brooklyn area as part of the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund led by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and DUMBO Improvement District. The fund was one of the projects selected as part of New York State’s $10 million Downtown Brooklyn Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which seeks to connect and transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities.
INSTALLATION LOCATION DETAILS
• Willoughby Plaza, Brooklyn (Shake Shack wall)
• Jay Street-MetroTech subway entrance, 395 Jay Street, Brooklyn
• 1 DeKalb Avenue (Fleet Street side of City Point), Brooklyn
• Mark Morris Dance Group (Rockwell Place wall), 3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
• BRIC Arts Media (Rockwell Place wall), 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn
• NYCHA Whitman Houses (Four Star Candy Deli) 327 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn
• NYCHA Whitman Houses (Ten Star Deli) 299 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn
A map showing all locations can be found here.
ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN + DUMBO ART FUND
The Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, a partnership of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Dumbo Improvement District, provides grants for eligible public art, performance, and accessibility projects that serve to enhance public space, increase access to cultural programming, and connect the neighborhoods of the Downtown Brooklyn area. Funding for these transformative grants has been provided by New York State through its Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Part of New York State’s approach to create vibrant neighborhoods and boost local economies, DRI investments are a crucial part of the State’s strategy to revitalize communities.
ABOUT THE POETRY SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Poetry Society of America places poetry at the crossroads of American life. The PSA transforms public spaces into sites for imaginative encounters with poems, engages diverse and often underserved communities, amplifies the voices of poets around issues of common concern, and honors their aesthetic contributions to our lives. Founded in 1910, it is the nation’s oldest poetry organization.