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Bridgeport, Chinatown, McKinley Park

Marz Brewing Owner’s Black Lives Matter Display Smashed By ‘Jagoffs’ Outside Bridgeport Art Gallery

The art installation at Co-Prosperity Sphere is part of larger exhibition called, "Justice. Defund. Abolish: For Black Lives."

A fire hydrant cap was thrown through the "I Can't Breathe" art installation at Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Facebook/Co-Prosperity Sphere
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BRIDGEPORT — A pro-Black Lives Matter art installation at a popular Bridgeport gallery was damaged in an act of vandalism Wednesday, according to the owner.

At 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, someone in a black SUV pulled up to Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St., and threw a fire hydrant cap through the building’s window, gallery owner Ed Marszewski said.

Marszewski was in the art gallery/events space when he heard a crash in the window. He went to check it out and saw the fire hydrant cap sitting in the window display.

The vandalism damaged a neon art installation that reads, “I Can’t Breathe,” which is part of a larger social justice-themed art piece visible in Co-Prosperity’s windows.

“We’re saddened by this,” Marszewski said. “There’s a small group of jagoffs. Thank God we outnumber them.”

Marszewski said his security footage showed a person wearing a white shirt and a white hat getting out of a SUV before throwing the fire hydrant cap and then driving off. He is waiting to receive a copy of a police report.

“Obviously, some people didn’t like to see those messages,” Marszewski said.

“I can’t breathe” were the final words of Eric Garner, who was killed by New York City police in 2014. The phrase has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The art installation at Co-Prosperity builds upon the “I can’t breathe” phrase by describing other activities Black people were engaged in when they were the victims of racist violence or harassment, including jogging and bird watching. The installation is from artists Reuben Kincaid and Neon Mike.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
The “Justice. Defund. Abolish: For Black Lives” art installation at Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The neon art is part of a larger exhibition in Co-Propserity Sphere’s windows called, “Justice. Defund. Abolish: For Black Lives.”

Curated by the Justseeds Art Cooperative and For The People Artist Collective, the installation includes a series of colorful social-justice themed graphics along the gallery’s Morgan Street storefront.

“Artists are typically on the front lines of showing solidarity for civil rights and social justice,” who owns Marz Community Brewing Co. and co-founded Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar and its sister restaurant Kimski. “We’re just a reflection of what people want to see in our community.”

The installation went up in Co-Prosperity’s windows in June. The gallery has had to cancel in-person installations and instead focus on art that can be viewed from a distance.

The Black Lives Matter window installation will stay up indefinitely, Marszewski said. Co-Prosperity Sphere will continue to showcase art and performances with a social justice message.

“Next time, we will have to budget for window replacement,” he said.

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