Brownsville native Avilda Whittmore’s Honeybee Face & Body Art kiosk is one of the biggest crowd pleasers at MGB POPS, an open air marketplace that Community Solutions helped to establish in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The marketplace debuted last winter in response to residents’ requests for high-quality community spaces and a diversity of retail options in this historically low-amenity neighborhood.
Avilda first came to the vibrant space as a customer. Equipped with an arts background, she used hours of free online tutorials to teach herself the tricks and techniques behind professional body painting. By volunteering at fairs and community events, she built a small customer base that eventually led to a stream of birthday parties and other children's events.
Today, Avilda is excited about her first season vending at MGB POPS, where she runs her own low-cost storefront and can take her business to a level she once thought financially out of reach. Her visually striking work adds to the festive environment and contributes to a new story about the vibrancy of this long overlooked community. As the summer season continues on, kids continue to line up excitedly at the Honeybee kiosk, eventually walking away with beautifully transformed faces. All the while, Avilda strengthens her skills as a local businesswoman and proud example of Brownsville talent at its best.