Crown Heights

Meet the man who painted 100 portraits of Crown Heights neighbors (and get free ice cream too)

Rusty Zimmerman-Crown Heights-Brokelyn
One of the project’s subjects with his portrait. Check out more of the progress on Sunday.

We’ve been following local artist Rusty Zimmerman’s Free Portrait Project for a while now, which involves him painting 200 portraits of his Crown Heights neighbors. It’s a cool project that he’s taking on to leave a physical document of the changing neighborhood and let people who might otherwise not be able to afford an oil painting of themselves get one. In a phone interview today, Zimmeran announced that he’s hit the halfway point with 100 paintings. Now he’s giving you the chance on Sunday to check out the progress, meet more of your neighbors and party with beer, music and some free ice cream too.

The project will finish off with a parade this summer. But this Sunday (Jan. 31) is your chance to see some of the artist’s handiwork personally and potentially meet some of the subjects he has painted at the Brooklyn Bell Foods & co. ice cream parlor on Classon. (More details on the event here.)

Get there early will get a free scoop of ice cream: the parlor is handing out scoops of free ice cream to the first 25 people (or hot soup, if you actually want to stay warm).

“This is going to be a great culmination of the project,” Zimmerman tells Brokelyn over the phone.

The artist, who currently is in talks of putting full color wheatpasted prints of the portraits at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, also thanked the two partners he has for this event; the Five Boro Story Project, which will be provided story circles at the event and the Crow Hill Community Organization, a non-profit organization.

The event is free and open to the public; Zimmerman has also extended an invitation to Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum, along with her staff.

“It’s not enough for me to meet all these people,” he said. “It’s important that everyone gets to meet these people, to meet their neighbors.”

Live music will be provided by Amos Rose and Everything Forever and there will be beer available from Rockaway Brewery (with donation).

3-5pm, Sunday Jan. 31 at Brooklyn Bell Foods & Co. is at 843 Classon Ave.

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