Murals and Public Art > People Make a Home [Real Estate]

A storefront window installation for Starting Artists, Inc., part of Windows Brooklyn, 2009

Please visit the People Make a Home [Real Estate] website for complete coverage and instructions on how to participate!

Project Description
We’ve all seen poster displays in the windows of real estate agencies, advertising the latest luxury properties. In Brooklyn, these ads seem especially ubiquitous, as the borough’s popularity as a residential destination continues to grow. Yet as many people struggle to find affordable housing in Brooklyn, and a national subprime mortgage crisis has escalated economic recession, it is important to remember that a home is more than just a nice apartment. Our homes are shaped and defined by the people who live in them—our roommates, parents, children, siblings, significant others, ourselves-- and these people who “make a home” in Brooklyn are ultimately Brooklyn’s greatest assets.

People Make a Home [Real Estate] (PMH Real Estate) is a mock real-estate ad display adorning the storefront windows of the nonprofit community arts center Starting Artists, Inc. (SA) at 211 Smith St. in Cobble Hill, from June 6-13, 2009. which, instead of showcasing the physical and material amenities of Brooklyn homes, “advertises” different people who live in them. The “People Postings” on this site, and on display at Starting Artists, were all submitted by different Brooklyn residents, including Starting Artists staff and students. People were invited to either submit photos and quotations to lead artist Katherine Gressel, so she could create postings for them, or create their own postings using a pre-designed template. Together these “people postings” form a patchwork that celebrates Brooklyn’s diversity. The window display is also meant to reinforce Starting Artists’ mission—by training young people as artists and creative entrepreneurs, SA is a local business that invests in people.

Windows Brooklyn takes art out of the traditional museum or gallery setting and incorporates it into a vibrant public space. The show turns pedestrians into viewers, slowing down impatient walkers and transforming the frequently traveled routes of harried commuters. Turning independent business owners into collaborators who are willing to exchange commerce for culture, the exhibition is a commentary on the nature of the window both as a physical object and as an idea, one that goes far beyond just pieces of glass. We seek to reflect the incredible history of Brooklyn while simultaneously adding to it. We are forging new connections between artists and their communities, changing the ways in which we direct our gazes, and altering our habits for interacting with the structures that surround us.
Windows Brooklyn 2009 took place June 6-13, 2009 in the Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens Neighborhoods of Brooklyn.