a series of four murals inspired by the poem
Ciudad sin sueño (Nocturno de Brooklyn Bridge) / Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne),
a three year project sponsored by Artmakers Inc.

About The Murals

Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne)
a series of murals based on the poem by Federico Garcia Lorca

Artmakers, Inc. has embarked on a series of murals based on the poem Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne) by Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936).  Established in 1984, Artmakers, Inc. collaborates with community organizations to create high quality public art relevant to lives and concerns of neighborhood residents (www.artmakersnyc.org).  

Lorca lived in New York right after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The resulting poverty and struggle he witnessed in this city influenced his poetry greatly during this time. "Sleepless City" was one of these poems and is filled with surrealistic images that speak to the ills that still exist today: slums, poverty, racism, and violence as well as the loneliness and alienation experienced by immigrants new to the city. Lorca also raged against the injustices inflicted on ordinary people by wealth and power. “Sleepless City” has beautiful universality in that it explores modernity and what it means to be human—to desire.

The Sleepless City murals will be sited in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a neighborhood of long time residents of Latino heritage and young emerging artists.  The first of the murals is located on Starr Street, between Wycoff and Irving Avenues.  Each mural will include a stanza from the poem, in both Spanish and English translations, as well as a feature of Lorca’s face–his eyes, an ear, his lips.  The final mural in the series will feature Lorca's entire face. 

A design element in one of the 2012 murals is a map of the world on which numbered dots indicates places of origin that will be listed on corresponding key. In this way, the Sleepless City murals bring people together. They help reduce the loneliness and alienation that is the human condition and, perhaps, they encourage them to dream. The “sleepless city” with its bright lights is where people search for connection and meaning.

The Sleepless City creative team includes assistant project coordinators Kayla Welbanks, Jules Hollander and Nicholas Pelafas.  Local volunteer painters and video artist Julia Reagan, who is documenting the making of the murals, will join them.  Artmakers will also invite young graffiti writers to paint the mural’s text as their involvement will help protect the wall from tagging. 

Sleepless City is an all-volunteer project and Artmakers is seeking material donations.  Needed are white, red, blue and black paint, MSA varnish with UVLS, Kill-Z primer to cover the graffiti that now covers the 12.5’ x 150’ wall, brushes, buckets, and ladders.

THANK YOU for your contributions to Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne).


CAMILLE PERROTTET, camilleperrottet@hotmail.com, 631 521 3885 

JANE WEISSMAN, urbecoart@aol.com, 212 989 3006

KAYLA WELBANKS, assistant project coordinator, klwelbanks@gmail.com

NICHOLAS PELAFAS, blog creator / public outreach