Sun Blocks is a collaborative public art project between students from the University Neighborhood High School, teaching artist Chat Travieso, and classroom teacher Sylvia Herbold as part of Hester Street’s Ground Up design education program. The installation is the culmination of a 15 week after school program with in which students learned about socially engaged design through an interactive curriculum in which they spoke to historians, architects, and activists to research the history of the area, its ecology, and current community issues; interviewed local residents and did mapping exercises to understand the everyday needs of the neighborhood; and brainstormed ways to make Pier 42 a more welcoming place. The result is a public art project the group designed, built, and painted. Constructed mostly out of reclaimed wooden crates and salvaged lumber, the installation offers shade and flexible seating for young people to hang out in the park and enjoy the view of the river.

This project was funded through a Cultural After School Adventures (CASA) grant from New York City Council Member Margaret Chin and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.