A tradition set in paint.
Kids and teens from across District 20 spent the first half of their school day on Thursday, October 26, painting the town shades of red, black, orange and more as part of the 65th Annual Halloween Art Contest.
The event — hosted yearly by the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) — sees students from elementary school through high school hitting the pavement and painting seasonal scenes on the windows of local businesses.
From restaurants and supermarkets to banks and even the offices of some elected officials, neighborhood businesses of all kinds are happy to serve as canvases for the annual paint-off.
Corene Suhr, art teacher at Fontbonne Hall Academy where chosen artists must be seniors, told this paper that her students have been looking forward to the contest since the ninth grade.
“I think it definitely connects them to the community, especially since some of the students don’t live in the immediate neighborhood,” Suhr said as her students painted the windows of the Home Reporter office. “It’s nice to have people think of Fontbonne and the art program in terms of what they’re doing.”
Fontbonne student Melody Tobin echoed her teacher’s enthusiasm.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to do this,” said Tobin, a Bay Ridge resident herself who never got the chance to do it in elementary school. “I don’t have a lot of experience painting windows but so far, so good. I think it brings a lot of cheer to the neighborhood.”
On the other hand, students Kristina Zloklikovits, Spiridoula Hatziminadakis and Teressa Martinelli had all painted windows before, with St. Patrick’s Catholic Academy, I.S. 227 and St. Ephrem’s, respectively. Nevertheless, they were excited to hit the pavement once again.
“I’m really excited to do it again,” said Hatziminadakis. “It’s a great opportunity to team up with my friends and paint. It’s a lot of fun.”
“I love painting windows,” added Zloklikovits, who compared the project to a “big mural.
“You can use the window as your canvas,” she said.
Marinelli highlighted the importance of the contest in raising awareness for art in schools, and in bringing the work of young artists to the forefront.
“It’s kind of like letting the neighborhood see what we can do,” said the Dyker resident. “It’s hard for kids our age to get our art out there.”
Later in the season, all participating students will be honored for their hard work during a follow-up awards ceremony at the BRCC meeting, to take place at Fort Hamilton High School at a later date.
The BRCC, established in 1951, is an umbrella organization of local groups.