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Love, Play, Relax, Dream… and Boogie!

A benches project by C.G Esperanza and Concourse House children.

Photo Credit: Jess Rolls (2023)

At this year’s Art on the Concourse event, Concourse House will be celebrating neighborhood artist and children's book author and illustrator Charles G. Esperanza. Charles has worked as an artist-in-resident alongside our children, moms and seniors at multiple Fordham Bedford venues including West Farms, Walton Avenue, Serviam and now Concourse House, where Charles has held the position of artist-in-resident since 2020.

Photo Credit: Jess Rolls (2023)

Throughout the 2023 year Charles, residents and children have designed four benches in the Concourse House Backyard. The result, “Love, Play, Relax, Dream," an art work piece that showcases the talents of Charles and the imagination of the resident children.

Photo Credit: Jess Rolls (2023)

Join us Thursday, September 28, 2023 to see the artwork at this year’s Art on the Concourse fundraiser event . Thank you to Chashama Space to Connect for supporting Charles Esperanza’s artist residency.

Charles G. Esperanza and Concourse House Children

Love, Play, Relax, Dream (2023), acrylic paint on wood

Photo Credit: Julian Clark (2023)

Charles and the children had several workshops to brainstorm the ideas. The kids were given blank bench canvas to sketch out their ideas. Below are some of the drawings that informed the final design ideas.

Inspired by Charles's children's book, “Boogie Boogie, Y'all," and music video, Charles and the children began to formulate the concept as subway carts taking us on an adventure ride through the Bronx.

Photo Credit: Julian Clark (2023)

With the help of the children's imagination, the benches become subway carriages traveling through The Bronx. On each bench we see people riding the subway, with the seat of the bench showing the New York City skyline through the train windows. The graffiti pay homage to The Bronx and to New York City street art. Integrating the youth of our community, the subway systems, street art and joyful words of affirmation. 

Photo Credit: Julian Clark (2023)

The children were able to help complete the final bench design by assisting in the prep, prime and painting of the benches. Now, with the project complete the benches have become a permanent fixture in the garden for the kids to enjoy. Below are the children enjoying summer activities with the sprinkler and playing with friends on the benches.

Video Credit: Jess Rolls (2023)

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