BY MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK & HEATHER J. CHIN
Dozens of pint-sized Picassos and creative community students took the morning off from school October 22 to paint the town black, orange, purple and more in the spirit of Halloween. Bay Ridge Community Council’s (BRCC) 61st Annual Fall Window Painting and Poster Contest called kids to storefront windows across the avenues.
“I love painting because it allows me to show myself off and to paint anything I want,” said 10-year-old Kristen, an art student chosen to represent Saint Patrick’s Catholic Academy alongside classmate Kaylee.
Kristen showed off an eerie midnight scene of a ghost flying out of a perfectly picked pumpkin outside of Cathy’s Place on 95th Street. Complete with sweet treats and creepy creatures, Kristen’s creation also paid tribute to a cause close to her heart.
“The ghost is holding a basket that says ‘stop cancer,’” she said, pointing to a cradle painted pink in honor of a friend’s mother and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Kaylee showed off her hand-painted fall foliage in yet another midnight scene.
When asked what she loved most about painting, Kaylee said, “I get to mix my own colors.” Those handmade shades shone bright in her painting of the night.
Saint Patrick’s Catholic Academy art teacher Mrs. Geraci commended her students for their hard work and dedication, coming up with each creation entirely on their own. Happy to participate yearly with Saint Patrick’s, Geraci also praised the annual event.
“It’s really a great thing we get to do for these kids,” she said.
Geraci and her crew were joined by fellow art teachers and students from schools across the area, letting their brushes run wild from as early as 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that afternoon. Entries were observed by active community members serving as volunteer judges.
The sound of singing drew passers-by over to Harbor View Car Service, on Fifth Avenue, off 95th Street, where seven girls, all seniors at Fontbonne Hall Academy, took a page from the Seven Dwarves’ book and made music while they worked. The group created four vivid scenes, ranging from fantastically creepy to happily haunted.
The ideas for their artwork came from “our personalities,” said the teens, whose art teacher, Len Bellinger, said that watching them work leaves him feeling “proud.”
“I’ve seen them slowly grow over the course of four years. They went from not being able to draw an egg to being able to draw faces. . with structure, and thematic [elements],” said Bellinger. “We wait until their senior year [to participate in the Halloween Art Contest] because it’s like their goodbye. I hope they take into college, whatever field they go into. Creativity is the name of the game. They can use it in every aspect of their life and career.”
Maria Makrinos, contest chairperson, noted an impressive turnout this season.
“I think it’s the best we’ve ever seen,” she said. “There are masterpieces beyond belief.”
The window painting advocate is already teasing next Halloween season.
“Let’s just say Manhattan is going to come to Brooklyn,” she said, spilling that kid-creators are in for “something special next year.”