New York City aim to brighten the city’s sidewalk with new art initiative

by Charlotte Smith

Synonymous with marvellous architecture, an abundance of historical monuments and countless iconic buildings and skyscrapers, New York City is constantly at a development in pace with its residents. With more than 300 miles of construction fences and sidewalk sheds that dot New York City neighbourhoods, the city that never sleeps is littered with unappealing protective structures that dull the appearance of the picturesque city.

Jen Magathan, Urban Sky Photograph: Courtesy NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Although there is nothing that can be done about the construction in the city, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), have set out to utilise the creativity of the city’s artists. The City Canvas Initiative, in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor, and the NYC Department of Buildings will allow temporary installation of visual arts on sidewalk sheds and construction fences located on or over City-owned buildings, sidewalks and streets to improve the visual landscape and give opportunities for artists to showcase their work on a public space.

“Sidewalk sheds are unattractive, but they keep us safe. We’re proud to work with our partner agencies on this innovative program. If anyone can bring some love to the sidewalk sheds New Yorkers love to hate, it’s our city’s artists,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

Mauricio Lopez, Color Mesh Photograph: Courtesy NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Mauricio Lopez, Color Mesh Photograph: Courtesy NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

“Public art, created by local artists and presented without barriers for all to enjoy and experience, strengthens the sense of community in our neighbourhoods and lifts the spirit of our city,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “I’m thrilled that our city has identified the miles of construction fencing as a canvas for artists to present works of public art in every neighbourhood. Members of the community can now enjoy art and find the meaning it brings on the way to and from work, on an evening stroll, or from the window of a car.”

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