Brush painting at New Utrecht Library brings community together

Brush-off took on a whole new meaning for Bensonhurst residents who had the opportunity to dabble in Chinese brush painting at the New Utrecht branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Sponsored by Apple Bank, the class provided children and adults with the opportunity to learn the ancient style of illustration sitting side by side in the friendly, educational atmosphere. Organized by Yung-Le Yau of the library, Edward Chu of Apple Bank, Sonia Valentin of the Friends Group and other affiliated members of the library, the activity was designed to bring the community and its families closer.

Originally, the program was for adults only, It began last year, thanks to a grant, and ran from March through June. When it ended, teachers and students donated their pieces to the library where they were sold at an exhibition and auction. In the end, over 500 participants took part and $800 was raised for the library. Even though the grant ended, the library decided to find the funds to keep the program running.

This year, one of the goals was to extend the program to children and in conjunction with Apple Bank, the after-school classes became a reality. The bank was able to sponsor three classes for an intergenerational audience.

Apple Bank, “Plans on continuing this service, and might go to other branches,” says Chu, adding that it “Builds a foundation for future children.”

Yau spoke of the importance of involving children and other residents in the library. For some, such as Hui Ting Liu, Yau said, the class offered the opportunity to practice brush painting done in China. For others, said Yau, it’s a chance to learn a new trade. And, for families, Yau said, it’s an opportunity to bond.

At the last class, a small exhibit comprising student and teacher work was shown. In the center of the room, anyone interested in Chinese culture and brush painting could read through a stack of books pulled from the shelves.

For more information on library programs, visit

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