The street art nonprofit’s annual block party returns for its 10th Anniversary on August 28.

Joe Ficalora, the Bushwick native who founded the Collective in 2012 as a way of coping with the loss of his mother, held the block party for the first time that same year.

“It was everything I had lost, which was family,” he explained in a Complex documentary. “One thing led to another, and…I ended up falling in love with street art and graff.”

Last year was the first time in eight years that he was unable to hold the block party.

“We were uncertain about what was going on with the pandemic,” he said. “We decided to, you know, be safe about it.”

Bushwick Collective’s activities continued in other spheres, however. According to Ficalora, they continued to paint murals and mentored approximately 60 to 70 kids from Coral Park Elementary School in Miami over Zoom throughout the summer. At the end of the program the kids sent a book of photos, artwork and letters with signed messages.

“It felt good, you know? But this is what Bushwick Collective [is about] – the spirit of it all, and what I love about it the most is bringing this whole family, the whole world, together,” Ficalora said.

At the conclusion of the Bushwick Kids Collective program, students sent a scrap book of art, photos and notes.
A page from the scrap book made by Bushwick Kids Collective includes an image of a stick figure offering a heart with the message: "You can do it! (But if u can't that's okay too."

This year, the event was postponed from June to August, so they could get a clearer picture of the what was going on with regard to the pandemic because, Ficalora said, “That’s more important: everyone’s safety.”

Now Bushwick Collective is bringing together artists from New York and around the world. Participants this year include NYC-based Giz and GHOST, LA-based Robert Vargas and Venezuelan-born Golden from Miami, in addition to artists flying in from outside the country.

There will be a food festival dimension to the party this year as well, with a curated array of food trucks and vendors. In another section of the three-block festival, artists will be showing and selling their work. There will also be a merchant market and a Modelo beer garden.

The party is notorious for its live music performances, and this year will be no different. Statik Selektah & Friends, DJ Evil Dee and other surprise guests will be performing before a special guest headliner. Ficalora couldn’t tell Bushwick Daily the headliner yet, but he is very excited to share.

General admission this year will be free, and VIP tickets are offered at two tiers, Ficalora said. Both tiers include a 2021 limited edition Bushwick Collective t-shirt designed by Golden, front stage access, private restrooms, and unlimited Modelo in the beer garden side stage (and, especially important in that case, unlimited water!) The higher tier comes with a piece of original artwork from Sipros and a tour of Bushwick Collective.

The block party will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Troutman Street and Scott Avenue, where the Collective is located.

“We’re back in full swing,” Ficalora said.

Editor’s Note: Article edited to correct spelling error August 5 at 2:47 p.m.

Images courtesy of Joe Ficalora.

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