A Community Oriented Art Installation by Ground Up Designers



Located in the Crow Hill Community Garden, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, our art installation/fundraising platform focuses on bringing the community together to build something beautiful in memory of last summer’s Labor Day shootings. If launched, the installation will help raise awareness and funding for organizations in Brooklyn that are working to stop gun violence through the use of art and education programs for the youth.

We believe that the key to reducing gun violence in Brooklyn isn’t a more extreme police force (as we often see as a response to shootings), but is better art and education programs for the youth. In light of this, we’ve designed a canopy for the community garden made of disposable handcuffs — each cuff will be individually sponsored by a participating member of the community, showing that they would like to see more art programs available for the youth as a means of getting kids off the streets and preventing gun violence, not more arrests.

We decided to use the handcuffs as a symbol of both the youth violence and the overbearing police presence, that our neighborhood is continually confronted with. Using the handcuffs as a part of the art installation is not meant to trivialize these sensitive topics — in fact we hope that they will keep the conversation geared toward these important issues as we come up with creative ways to tackle them.


We are submitting our project to a number of international design competitions, launching a Kickstarter campaign, and applying for the New Yorkers for Better Neighborhoods grant. With the money raised through these initiatives, we will purchase the materials we need for the project. Once purchased, the cuffs will then be made available for donation at participating businesses throughout Crown Heights. When someone sponsors a cuff, they will be given a packet of information to take home, as well as a cuff to personalize with a message and then leave in a collection box for pick up.  Once a week, Ground Up Designers will collect the sponsored cuffs and add them to the installation.

Each cuff donated to the project will stand as a symbol of it’s donor’s support for positive community growth in Crown Heights — as more and more people donate their personal cuff to the project, a mesh will begin to grow in a lace like pattern. This mesh of cuffs, created of our neighbors’ joint community spirit, will become the canopy of the installation and a place for people of meet and organize throughout the summer. Architecturally, this canopy will be supported by a framework of fanned supporting legs that connect with hinges to a base. Just as the canopy is supported by the legs, the legs are completely dependent upon the canopy. This design was chosen to represent the relationships between the community organizations that support the community, and the individual members that support the organizations — one would not exist without the other.


The completed design uses over one-thousand cuffs to create the canopy of the installation. If each cuff is sponsored at the suggested $3 – $5 donation, we will have raised between $3,000 and $5,000 when the installation is complete!

A portion of the money raised will be used to fund free art classes which can be held under the canopy throughout the summer. The remaining money will be donated to community organizations that are working toward better education programs for the youth and against gun violence.


‘Art Not Arrests’, was awarded 3rd Place in the Black Spectacles Un-Competition Project, an international design competition focusing on self initiated/community oriented design projects.

‘Art Not Arrests’ was exhibited at “Build On”  the follow up event to The Un-Competition Project: January 19th at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

‘Art Not Arrests’ will be Exhibited at “Slap Dash” a monthly series that brings together different art forms for a semi-cohesive mixed-media event: June 2012 at LaunchPad<

Inhabitat NYC
I Love Franklin Ave


New Yorkers for Better Neighborhoods Grant
 – Application deadline Jan 31st 2012

Kickstarter Rewards: participate now to get yours

Pin: Available in Black, White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple, and Blue.

Bracelets: Available in Black, White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple, and Blue.

Necklace: Available in Black, White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple, and Blue.

T-Shirt: Available in Women’s & Men’s American Apparel S,M,L, XL

Hoodie: Available in Women’s & Men’s American Apparel S,M,L, XL

Safe In This Place:

Safe In Theis Place


It’s not too late to join Safe in This Place!  The second session is Thursday, Jan. 19, from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at Georgia’s Place, and new participants are welcome.  Anyone age 18 or over who lives, works, or socializes around Franklin Avenue is invited to take part.

For more information, please contact Julia at or 708-408-2004.

Free. All are welcome.
No theater experience necessary.
Read more about participating in the project. 

Safe In This Place

Neighborhood Story Circle

Come meet neighbors and share stories about our neighborhood around Franklin Avenue
Monday, December 12 – 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Georgia’s Place, 691 Prospect Place
(at the corner of Bedford Ave – enter through the side gate on Prospect)
Light refreshments will be served.

This event will also be an opportunity to learn more about “Safe in This Place,”
a ten-week series of theater-based workshops that will take place on
Thursday evenings from January to March 2012, exploring the question:
What does it mean to be safe in this neighborhood?
Read more about the project

For more info or to RSVP,
please email  or call Julia at 708-408-2004.

“Safe in This Place” is a research project of the CUNY School of Professional Studies M.A. in Applied Theatre.

What do you think it means to be safe in this neighborhood?

Come share your ideas and meet your neighbors!

Safe In Theis Place

For 10 weeks this winter, join your neighbors in using theater activities
to explore what it means to be safe in the neighborhood along Franklin Avenue.

 Free. All are welcome. No theater experience necessary.

“Safe in This Place” is a theater-based workshop series that will engage residents of northern Crown Heights – specifically the neighborhood around Franklin Avenue – in exploring the question: “What does it mean to be safe in this neighborhood?” It will culminate in a public event in March that will be designed by participants to share what we’ve discovered and extend the dialogue to more people in our neighborhood.

The workshops will be facilitated by three local artists who are trained in using theater and drama to engage groups in creative reflection and dialogue.  The workshops will be offered free of charge to adult residents who live, work, and/or socialize on or near Franklin Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway.

Dates: Every Thursday from January 12 through March 15, 2012 (Participants are asked to attend all 10 sessions.)
Time: 7:00-9:30pm
Location: Georgia’s Place, 691 Prospect Pl., Brooklyn, NY 11216 (corner of Prospect Pl. and Bedford Ave.)

There will be light refreshments at all the sessions.

No theater experience is necessary. Any interested adults (18 and over) are encouraged to attend. Join us!

For more information, please contact Julia at or 708-408-2004.

Safe in This Place is a research project of the M.A. in Applied Theatre program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.



The project is being conducted with support from the Crow Hill Community Association.


Crown Heights Participatory Urbanism Wins Award

We are so proud that the Manuel Avila’s project: Crown Heights Participatory Urbanism was a winner of the “By the City for the City Competition” sponsored by the Institute of Urban Design. This was a city-wide competition with over 150 submissions from architects around the world for ideas about how to improve public space in the five boroughs of NYC. Crown Heights Participatory Urbanism was chosen by a panel of internationally renowned architects as one of ten winners. Additionally,  Crown Heights Participatory Urbanism has been reviewed by different online and print media including, Architect MagazineDomus Magazine and Curbed NYC. The project is also featured in a new publication by the Institute for Urban Design called By the City for the City: An Atlas of Possibility For The Future of New York.
Manuel donated a portion of his award to Crow Hill Community Association, You can learn more about him and his work on his website MAP and you can view a PDF of the complete project here.

Labor Day Shootings Press Rally

Thank you to everyone who came out to the press rally.

We have started a fund for Denise Gay’s family. Ms. Gay was the innocent bystander tragically killed in the Labor Day Park Place shooting.

Donations can be dropped off at HAD Associates at 737 Franklin Avenue. Checks can be made out to Crow Hill Community Association with “Denise Gay Fund” in the memo. Cash should be in a sealed envelope with “CHCA/Denise Gay Fund” written on the outside.

We will also be collecting for the fund at Thursday’s Press Conference and at our September 20th meeting.

3rd Annual Kids Day Event

Come out and enjoy a beautiful fun-filled day at the 3rd Annual Kids Day Event!
This Saturday, July 24th from 12-5PM,
Franklin Avenue between Park Place and Sterling Place will be closed and transformed into a carnival. Let your hair down and feel like a kid again-there’s no doubt that you will have fun. Come celebrate the neighborhood as well as the children within the Crow Hill community. There will be rides, prizes and entertainment at no expense to anyone who wished to attend. The event is paid for entirely through donations from local businesses as well as successful fund raising efforts; About Time Boutique made it a point to involve everyone especially the children residing within the Crown Heights community which was seen in their enthusiastic participation at weekly bake sales held on Franklin Ave. So Show Some love and support and come out to the 3rd Annual Kids Day Event.