Community Mural Painting at Tillie's

Last year, I interviewed local artist Ellie Balk as part of the "Personal Profiles" series (which will hopefully be resurrected soon -- if you have any ideas on what you might like, please email me!). She mentioned how she hoped to work with Tillie's to create a community mural -- a map of the neighborhood on which all local residents would be invited to paint a dot on the location where they lived, illustrating how close we all really live to one another and how much the neighborhoods nearby are connected. After many long months of working with Landmarks and raising money and applying for grants, Ellie is ready to begin! tillies-mural-for-sonya-web.JPG

Save the date, as the main citizen participation day will be Saturday, June 21.

Here's the info from the press release:

Tillie’s of Brooklyn is proud to announce the painting of a community mural on the Vanderbilt Avenue side of the store, now an empty brick wall at the corner of Vanderbilt and DeKalb Avenues in the Fort Greene section of the borough. Partnered with the newly created SONYA Mural Arts Project, artist Ellie Balk will paint a 9’ circle map of the neighborhood on the wall starting Friday evening, 6/13. Over the course of a week Balk and a crew of volunteer artists from the area will paint the map on the wall. On Saturday, June 21st from 12:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. the public is invited to participate by putting a dot in the spot where their home is located. Tillie’s will serve refreshments on 6/21 at the dedication ceremony.

South Of the Navy Yard Artists (SONYA) has partnered with Ellie Balk to create the SONYA Mural Arts Fund, which will be used to create and implement murals and public art projects that support the youth and neighborhoods of Brooklyn. The initial goal is to raise $5,000 towards the completion of its first project and the development of future murals. The public is invited to make tax-deductible donations by visiting SONYA's website: and clicking on "donate", then noting "Mural Arts Fund" under the special instructions, so that the funds can be allocated properly.

Artist Ellie Balk, a neighborhood resident and artist who specializes in community-based projects, explains: “The goal for the Tillie's Community Mural is to unify and bridge the varying aspects of the local community, giving all people a sense of connectedness. The mural will go up at the point where our neighborhoods meet, at the corner of Vanderbilt and DeKalb: Tillie's has become a home base for many Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill residents.”

With fiscal sponsorship and support from SONYA, this mural has been funded through a grant from the Puffin Foundation and with generous support from the Society for Clinton Hill. It is also supported by: the Landmarks commission of NYC; the Community Board of Kings County; building owner Danny Browne; Tillie's owners, Patricia Mulcahy and Amos Yogev; and many enthusiastic community members. Says SONYA’s president, Kathleen Hayek, “We are excited about the Tillie’s Community Mural and would very much like it to succeed and be the catalyst for many more mural projects within our community.”

To learn more about Ellie Balk’s projects and background as a mural artist, see For all other inquiries contact Patricia Mulcahy at 718 783-6140 or at