Public Art Watch Project FA-5416

The depictions of birds and hares on the Avenue J and M memorials respectively. I do not own these images.

Rita MacDonald tends to make elaborate wall paintings that use patterns, repetitions, and optical illusions.

Her paintings contort the space, seeming to bend and move against the wall's flatness.

While altering the perspective and disorienting the viewer, she also highlights the distinct qualities of the space.

Domino Sugar Factory Mural, "Candy Stripe" 2014

MacDonald has an MFA from the school of Visual Arts in NY, and a Bachelor's degree from Rhode Island School of Design

Commissioned to create two permanent pieces for the MTA

Bird Laid Bare
Hare Apparent

Questions i asked people:

  • Have you ever noticed these mosaics at the Avenue J or M stations while riding along the B or Q lines in the MTA?
  • If yes, have you passed by them often, or noticed them before I introduced them?
  • Why do you think there are birds or rabbits depicted in the mosaics?
  • Do the murals lend much meaning to the community (Midwood)?
  • Would you be upset if this art was taken down?
  • What is it about the artwork that you like (or don't like)?

Have you seen this before?

  • 7 - yes
  • 4 - no
  • 2 - I don't live around here

Did you notice the murals before I introduced them?

  • 5- yes (3 saw them often and loved them)
  • 8 - no (including the ones who've never been)

Why the birds/rabbits?

  • 4: the city needs more nature/beauty of nature.
  • 3: the artist likes them, they are cute
  • 2: reminiscent of wallpaper
  • 3: other
She chose the wallpaper motif to evoke when the station was built (1907). The tiles reveal the past.

Do the murals have much bearing on the community?

  • 5: no
  • 4: beautification/pride/unique
  • 2: unsure
  • 3: other

Would you be upset if this was taken down?

  • 7: no
  • 3: yes
  • 2: a little

What do you like about the artwork?

  • 6: the colors, nature, calming, bright images
  • 2: thought provoking
  • 5: wallpaper effect


  • (Why birds/rabbits?) "I believe the bird symbolizes freedom, and the rabbit symbolizes rebirth (since the subways always has construction going on)"
  • (Why birds/rabbits?) "I feel like the nature images connotate an escape from urban life, however, I think it's best that people learn to love the beauty of the community around them and the city."
  • (Do these murals relate to the community?) "The bunnies and birds are always busy and on the move, rather like New Yorkers."
  • (Do the murals relate to the community?) The Dutch word for rabbit is conyne, the original name of Coney Island, so that could be the rabbit significance."

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