Sunny Day, by Cara Lynch '12, for the Long Beach Council for the Arts.

Cara Lynch ’12 has made mural magic again, this time in Long Beach, New York.

Lynch’s particular brilliance is not merely eye-catching, site-appropriate public art. She has been creating public art since she graduated from Adelphi and, last semester, began teaching as an adjunct in the Department of Art and Art History. She also includes the community when she designs public art by reaching out to them for inspiration—and sometimes to actually create the art as well.

That’s one of the reasons the Long Beach Council for the Arts chose her to paint the bayfront park at the Long Beach Recreation Center complex.

“We selected Cara from a very impressive pool of candidates,” said Wendy Goldstein, vice president of the Long Beach Council for the Arts. “She brought amazing experience in designing public art and working with communities. The project provided a wonderful experience for our residents and left a beautiful, lasting impact on the city of Long Beach.”

She’s worked largely in New York City, but she’s also completed projects in Westchester, the Adelphi campus and, most recently, a temporary installation in the Nashville International Airport. Radiate Positivity” is part of the annual skylight exhibition sponsored by Arts at the Airport, the Bonnaroo Works Fund, and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Lynch was one of four artists selected.

The Long Beach Project

Her latest assignment was to create a mural for a set of stacked shipping containers that house equipment. Lynch and her assistants, who included fellow alumni and current students, painted it over 10 days. In addition, she was asked to create a design for asphalt paths within the park that could be implemented with the help of community volunteers. More than 50 people turned out to help in early September.

“It was nice to see grandparents, parents and children painting together,” Lynch said. “I enjoy having members from the community participate, because the work is ultimately for them, and this enriches their experience of a place. I am always moved by the sense of community that occurs on-site during installation.”

Her inspiration for the actual artwork came from Long Beach as a city by the sea, and the site itself, which is right next to the shore.

“The asphalt mural was inspired by the act of shell collecting,” Lynch said, noting that the design was intentionally simple because it had to be installed in a single day. “Spirals and shell-like shapes were painted in sections of color that meet like lapping waves.”

The ancient Minoans inspired her design for the shipping container murals. “They have a motif known as a running spiral,” she said. “It references the ocean, but also has a lot of movement, which was perfect for this park, an active site for recreation and athletic activity. I also wanted the work to be something happy and fun, and bring joy to people visiting. I decided to paint the floor in front of the structure as well. I wanted this to look as if the mural was being reflected in the water.”

Lynch teaches a course in mural arts. Last spring, the class installed a mural in Swirbul Library. In the upcoming spring semester, they are slated to install a project for the Multicultural Center and a smaller work in Blodgett Hall.

Like Adelphi, the Long Beach job is a kind of homecoming for Lynch, whose sister lives in the city.

“This was an opportunity to make a piece in a place where I spent a lot of time in my teens and early 20s,” she said. “My personal connections to the site made this extra special for me.”

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