Tribute to New York and New Yorkers: Celebrating the Heroes of Our City

Community Identity - Previous Projects

In 2002, CITYarts unveiled a project that engaged community youth in the Lower East Side in creative self-expression and beautification of their neighborhood. The mural revitalized lower Manhattan to pay tribute to everyday heroes. Celebrating the Heroes of Our City was our way of responding to the tragic events of 9/11. The mural was an outlet through which the children of the Lower East Side could receive a chance to be heard, to express their feelings, and to paint their dreams for a better future.

Over the years, the mural weathered and deteriorated, and so in 2013, CITYarts, in collaboration with artist Yanusz Gilewicz, community youth from the Henry Street Settlement and Grand Street Settlement, with the assistance of Leon Reid, Frank Oleszko, Todd Merchant, Richard Cabral, and support from the Disney Corporation, set out to restore and re-create Celebrating the Heroes of Our City. The recreated mural continues to honor the firefighters, policemen, and everyday New York citizens who have worked tirelessly towards recovering our lives and restoring our morale following the tragic events of 9/11. It is also now the first permanent outdoor 3D mural in New York.

Celebrating the Heroes of Our City is a source of pride for the community and a vital part of the neighborhood’s identity. This amazing 210 ft. mural has transformed the space and the community – in the words of a senior citizen who has lived in the neighborhood for the past 80 years, “you lift us up”. We hope it will stand as a constant reminder that illustrates the power of people standing united for a great cause.

Sponsored by: Walt Disney Company.