New Public Art Project: With Your Voice

July 11, 2024

Van Alen Institute Unveils Public Art Project: With Your Voice

With Your Voice by Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas. Photo: Cameron Blaylock

Interactive installations by Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas illustrate agreements made between the City of New York and Gowanus residents as part of Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning

View and download images
CONTACT: Alisha Kim Levin |

BROOKLYN (July 11, 2024) — Van Alen Institute is pleased to announce With Your Voice, a new participatory public artwork by Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas, on view through August 9, 2024. Located at 10 indoor and outdoor locations in Gowanus, this community engagement tool informs New Yorkers about the 56 Points of Agreement, a set of major capital and programmatic commitments made by the City of New York as part of the Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning, backed by a $250 million investment by the City. The installation brings these agreements directly to Gowanus residents through 10 site-specific “Voicers” — colorful, megaphone-shaped viewfinders — and a VR headset located at Van Alen Institute.

Although the 56 Points of Agreement affect tens of thousands of Gowanus residents and workers, many are unaware of their existence. Through With Your Voice, people can look into the Voicers and view slides illustrating how the 56 Points of Agreements are shaping Gowanus — including changes to the built environment and city-led programs to support residents and local businesses.

At each Voicer, participants can scan a QR code to record voice notes responding to what they’ve learned. These notes are shared with the Gowanus Oversight Task Force, community volunteers that advance the 56 Points of Agreement by meeting regularly with city agencies. Responses support the task force’s efforts by surfacing community voices and humanizing impacts of the rezoning. To encourage participation, people can collect digital gem tokens — dubbed “Gowameralds”— by leaving a voice note at each Voicer. Those who collect all 10 Gowameralds will win gift certificates from local businesses.

The VR headset at Van Alen Institute hosts an expansive library of additional resources, including 3D models, illustrations, interviews, and videos. The VR headset is available to the public Tuesdays–Thursdays, 10:30 am–6:30 pm, July 16–August 8.

With Your Voice raises awareness about major promises made by New York City to Gowanus residents as part of the neighborhood’s ongoing redevelopment, “ said Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas. “Through the surveys posted at each Voicer, we encourage Gowanus residents to voice their opinions about what they learn and create a connection with the Gowanus Oversight Task Force members working to strengthen this community.”

“Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas’s installation With Your Voice exemplifies public art’s potential for approachable, effective community engagement,” said Deborah Marton, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute. “Amidst the speedy evolution of Gowanus’s built environment, the piece’s brightly colored, whimsical installations — the Voicers — demystify neighborhood changes and support the Gowanus Oversight Task Force’s important advocacy.”

This is Van Alen’s 15th installation in its ongoing Common Build initiative, which surfaces the work of emerging artists and tests new strategies to bring people together in public space. With Your Voice is supported by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the Council’s Brooklyn Boroughwide Needs Initiative, and with in-kind fabrication from Bednark Studio and engineering review services from Silman. The project is made possible through the collaboration of Brooklyn Public Library, New York City Housing Authority, NYC Department of Environment Protection, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Parks, Domain Companies, PMG, SCAPE, and Avery Hall.

With Your Voice Locations

Van Alen Institute, 303 Bond St
Wyckoff-Bond Garden, 195 Wyckoff St
Powerhouse Arts, 322 3rd Ave
David Foulke Memorial Garden, 248-250 Bergen St
Wyckoff Gardens Community Center, 280 Wyckoff St
C-Town, 239 Bond St
Good Morning Deli, 303 Dean St
Brooklyn Public Library, 25 4th Ave
Siempre Restaurant, 255 3rd Ave
Office of Councilmember Hanif, 195 Bond St

Maps can be found on each Voicer and online at

With Your Voice Selection Process

Artists were nominated by members of Van Alen Institute’s network who have a history of working with artists who create socially engaged public art. With Your Voice was chosen by a selection committee from a shortlist of three proposals; the other shortlisted artists were Lynn Neuman and Immanuel Oni.

The selection committee consisted of eight Gowanus residents who serve on the Gowanus Oversight Task Force or other neighborhood groups: Bahij Chancey*, WXY Studio; Frank Dubinsky, Monadnock Development; Diana Gruberg, Gowanus Canal Conservancy; Candelaria Mas Pohmajevic*, Resilient Cities Catalyst; Nilda Lino*, Assure for Life; Tony Ruiz*, Gowanus Oversight Task Force; Elisa Smilovitz, Gowanus Mutual Aid; and Andreas Tyre, Gowanus Houses Resident Association. (*Denotes member of Gowanus Oversight Task Force)

About the 56 Points of Agreement

In 2021, the New York City Council approved the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan, an expansive rezoning that will bring an estimated 8,200 new apartments to an 82-block stretch of Gowanus, transforming a historic manufacturing area into mixed-use. Approximately 18,000 new residents are estimated to occupy new housing developments by 2035. It is the largest rezoning of the de Blasio administration and has been in the works for over a decade. In response, a diverse and representative group of community volunteer stakeholders formed the Gowanus Oversight Task Force to ensure Gowanus residents benefit from the rezoning. The 56 Points of Agreement are an outcome of the work of the Gowanus Oversight Task Force that details a comprehensive investment from the city in housing, infrastructure, public space, community amenities, and workforce and business support programs to improve the quality of life for current and future residents as part of the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan.

About the Artists

Juanli Carrión’s work has unfolded over the past decade in the research, development, and education of community-engaged design and artistic practices addressing social and environmental justice. Over the past decade, Carrión has followed the Gowanus Canal’s changes and challenges up close. As Assistant Professor of Creative Community Development at Parsons School of Design, he has used the Canal as a case study for his Sustainable Systems Practices course, in which students map the pollution of waterways using pH reactive natural dyes. He is the co-founder of OSS Project Inc. and his work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, BRIC, ARTIUM, MUSAC, CentroCentro, MAC Lima, India’s National Gallery of Modern Art, and Serbia’s MOCA. His research has been presented at Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, AIA New York, National Academy of Sciences, and Getty Institute, among others.

Rodolfo Kusulas is a transdisciplinary creator with a deep passion for social innovation and sustainability who uses his work as a tool to help communities thrive. With experience working internationally, he has a background in industrial design, extensive experience in branding, product and retail. After winning a global competition for the 140th anniversary of Heineken, Kusulas joined VBAT as a creative in the Latin American office. Since 2018, he has developed programmatic design and creative community development work with KOUS studio, which he co-founded in 2016, and in collaboration with artists and nonprofit organizations.

As a duo, Carrión and Kusulas share interest in transdisciplinary research about how art and design can be used to visualize the layers of identity that compose communities. They transform stories, data, materials, actions or information into art and design strategies that serve as tools for sustainable community development. This manifests in community lead initiatives including public art that becomes urban agriculture, product design and art pieces that become small businesses as supplemental source of revenue, interactive murals and workshops that become tools for education on water pollution and jewelry that becomes therapeutic tools to confront environmental devastation.

About Van Alen Institute

Van Alen Institute helps create equitable cities through community-led inclusive design. In an equitable city, communities are engaged in the conception and creation of their built environment, regardless of income or personal circumstances. Community-driven decision-making builds resilience, social infrastructure, and ultimately, more just cities. For 130 years, our purposeful community engagement, convening capacity, and global network have produced profound transformations in the public realm of New York City and beyond. With an interdisciplinary approach to design, the Van Alen team has backgrounds in architecture, arts and culture, community organizing, preservation, and public policy. See all work at