City, School District and community leaders gathered at the New Rochelle train station today to celebrate the installation of an oversized, whimsical book kiosk created by 3D pop artist Charles Fazzino. The Fazzino kiosk was the seventh and final one in the first phase of a Pop-up Libraries Community Collaboration spearheaded by My Brother’s Keeper New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Council on the Arts, in conjunction with the New Rochelle Department of Parks & Recreation and the New Rochelle Public Library. “We are so grateful an artist of such international stature as Charles Fazzino continues to be invested in the cultural dynamism of New Rochelle,” noted Mayor Noam Bramson, who congratulated Fazzino and the organizations that made this community collaboration a reality.
“These kiosks are a wonderful idea,” said Dr. Alex Marrero, Interim Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle. “In the schools, our educators are devoted to developing literacy and fostering a lifelong love of reading in our students. These ‘Little Free Libraries’ help keep that love alive for children and adults alike when they are out in the parks or taking a train. The installation at the train station, with Charles Fazzino’s whimsical design, reinforces the truth that reading is not just important, it’s fun. We thank My Brother’s Keeper New Rochelle, the New Rochelle Council on the Arts, the New Rochelle Public Library City and the New Rochelle Department of Parks and Recreation for installing these little libraries around the city, including one in front of Columbus Elementary School.”
Artist Charles Fazzino shared his gratitude for the placement of his unique kiosk at the New Rochelle train station. “I’m really excited to have the free library at the train station and the timing couldn’t be better,” said artist Charles Fazzino. “I hope, that as we near the end of the pandemic, that it welcomes all of the commuters back and puts smiles on all of their faces.”
In 2019, the City of New Rochelle joined the “Little Free Library” movement, with “Pop-up Library” kiosks installed at six locations around the city. The concept behind these book kiosks is simple: Take a book or leave a book. The goal is to promote literacy and the love of reading, and to build a sense of community, while also creating unique public art, because each of New Rochelle’s library kiosks was embellished by a different artist.
Fazzino’s kiosk features an interactive design that measures seven feet long and includes playful built-in seating (in the shape of red lips) so that browsers can sit for a few minutes and read.
Fazzino, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, is one of the world's most popular and highly collected pop artists. His unique, detailed, vibrant, and three-dimensional artwork has been exhibited in hundreds of museums and galleries in more than 20 different countries. Fazzino’s studio is located in New Rochelle, and he is a board member of the New Rochelle Council on the Arts.
“We are so grateful to Charles Fazzino, who designed a unique and inviting kiosk that was placed where he hoped it would be: The New Rochelle train station,” said Colleen Gardephe, Managing Director of MBK New Rochelle. “Literacy is central to the My Brother’s Keeper mission, and this kiosk is all about giving commuters and visitors the opportunity to discover the joy of reading.”
“Charles Fazzino’s Pop-up Library kiosk is a statement piece,” noted Theresa Kump Leghorn, President of the NRCA. “We are grateful to the City of New Rochelle for allowing us to place it at the train station, where we feel it reinforces the city’s image as an arts-friendly community that embraces both the visual and the literary arts.”
The Fazzino kiosk will join New Rochelle’s other Pop-up Libraries, installed in 2019 at Glenwood Lakes, Hudson Park, Huguenot Park, Lincoln Park, outside of Columbus School and at Paws Place dog park at Ward Acres Park. Each has been stocked with books and is maintained by a volunteer “steward.” In addition to Charles Fazzino, the artists include Carol Bowen, Cristina Cerone, Alvin Clayton, Laura Heiss, Stephanie Lombardo and Aston LeMelle Thomas. New Rochelle’s Pop-up Libraries project is a collaboration between the NRCA and MBK New Rochelle in conjunction with the New Rochelle Public Library and the New Rochelle Dept. of Parks and Recreation. The project was funded by My Brother’s Keeper New Rochelle, the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and ArtsWestchester.