Thousands of Pinwheels Put a New Spin on Prospect Park’s Rose Garden
Only steps from the bustling, ever-populated Long Meadow, the oft-forgotten Rose Garden, tucked away in the northeast corner of Brookyn’s Prospect Park, was recently enlivened by a sinuous sea of over 7,000 yellow pinwheels. The brainchild of Prospect Park Alliance, AREA4, and Suchi Reddy of Reddymade Architecture & Design, the installation, titled The Connective Project, drew crowds to this quiet, underused stretch by creating a visually enticing and immersive experience for park-goers.
"It's an honor to work in this world of wonder that Olmsted and Vaux's created, and to be able to add a contemporary sense of discovery," said architect Suchi Reddy. "The purpose of architecture is to serve and uplift the community, and installations like this give us the opportunity to do just that."
Covering over 2.5 acres of green space, the pinwheels—made of weather-resistant, compostable paper from stone dust—contained artwork, poems, and photographs by community members, artists, and well-known figures. The whimsical yellow pinwheel was transformed into a DIY love letter to the park from the public, who had the opportunity to submit art, along with a message explaining what “Brookyn’s Backyard” (the nickname for Prospect Park) means to them. Connecting with the local art community, the project also launched an open call to artists, and granted winner Ansel Oommen the chance to sell prints of his pinwheel art at the Brooklyn Museum, and later have his pinwheel featured at art space Pioneer Works in Red Hook, along with those of twenty other finalists, in August.
The installation, which was open only briefly from July 7 to the 17, was commemorated, however, by thousands of Instagrams, using the hashtag #connectiveproject and #prospectpark150. The project coincides with the park’s 150th anniversary and is the first phase of a larger plan to revive the abandoned Rose Garden and imagine new uses. And this blanket of pinwheels, juxtaposed against Olmsted and Vaux’s verdant landscape, was certainly a good first step in doing so.