On December 12, 2016, Thrive Collective participated in the kickoff event of Thrive NYC’s Week of Action with First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Buery, and actor Dennis O’Hare in Union Square Park. As part of the event, the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit invited passersby to collaborate with Thrive artists to create the custom “Holidays Thrive” mural by answering the question, “How will you be well during this holiday season?” The beautiful lavender, violet, and purple toned work (symbolizing the freedom and equality of whole-life wellness) illustrated with opening gifts, was overlaid by comments from New Yorkers, presenting an authentic window into the city’s character and quality of life this season. Mr. O’hare encouraged people to, “Take a moment,” and First Lady McCray scribed that “helping others” cultivates wellness. The two canvases, each valued at over $900, have now been embellished and finished by our master artists for presentation to the First Lady in 2017.
Thrive Collective will present the collaborative artwork as a statement of partnership, in appreciation for our work together in helping all New Yorkers to thrive, especially our most vulnerable children and youth. The paintings provide a visual reminder that we all have a role to play in creating a healthy city for all of us. Further, as several NYCThrive staff and volunteers signed the paintings it reminds them that our work is based in the community we serve and helping people to unwrap the gifts inside.
Thrive Collective’s Creative Director Sam Wisnewski provided art direction for the project. Mr. Wisneski earned his B.F.A. from the Ringling School of Art and Design, his M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art, and studied with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier from 2003 – 2006. He is currently exhibiting at the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, CA, and teaches figure painting and perspective drawing in New York City at the Grand Central Academy of Art. He conceived Thrive Collective’s collaborative School Murals process while directing the “Welcome” themed mural at PS 102 in 2011, replicated the process during Coney Island’s “Resilience” mural at PS 329 in 2013, and joined Thrive’s team as Creative Director in 2014. He launched Mural: Master Class as an in-school art intensive for middle and high school students in January 2014, and has oversaw the expansion of Thrive’s arts education programs to include Thrive Teaching Artists in 23 schools in 2015-2016.
Mr. Wisnewski was assisted by affiliated aerosol artists ‘Scribe 52′ and ‘BOM4.’
Ritchie Kong (‘Scribe52’) hails from Long Beach, CA, where he works as an urban art educator at Cypher Spot studio. Cypher’s outreach programs teach life and art skills utilizing the five elements of hip hop: DJing, breakdancing, rap, knowledge, and graffiti.
Nicholas Colazzo (‘Bom4’) from Brooklyn, NY is an avid urban mural artist composing commissioned works for businesses, community groups, and schools throughout New York City. A partner artist of Thrive Collective he is a protégée and collaborator of world-famous graffiti artist Crash.