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Art for New York: The Making of a Public Art Collection

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Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Please join us at The Fine Arts Federation of New York's 2019 Annual Meeting for an insightful conversation on the role of art in the public realm.

New York City’s vast collection of public art dates to the dawn of the 1800s, and spans a remarkable array of works installed in and among parks, plazas, libraries, court buildings, fire stations, and other civic sites. Encompassing sculpture, painting, lighting, mosaic, glass, textiles, and more, the collection amounts to a five-borough museum with dazzling reach and impact.

Rarely considered as a whole, this body of work gives rise to questions about the value of public art, its evolution over time, and its relevance to an ever-evolving city. How can an urban art collection grow and change? Should we expect public artworks to endure forever? What special considerations are needed for art that’s integrated into infrastructure and architecture? How do we maintain works of wide-ranging materials and methods? And how can we ensure an equitable public art process that reflects a diverse city?

On the occasion of its 2019 Annual Meeting, The Fine Arts Federation of New York, in partnership with the NYC Public Design Commission, presents an evening of dialogue about how public art is commissioned, created, reviewed, and maintained. We are honored to share the perspectives of those directly engaged in the public art process: an artist who recently completed a public monument in the South Bronx; representatives of the Public Design Commission, which oversees permanent, city-owned artworks; the artist and curator who leads the city’s Percent for Art program, which has commissioned hundreds of site-specific projects since 1982; and the Parks Department’s leading authority on art and antiquities.

Panelists include:

Keri Butler, Deputy Executive Director, NYC Public Design Commission
Melissa Calderón
, Artist
Kendal Henry, Director, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program
Jonathan Kuhn, Director, Art & Antiquities, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

Members of the NYC Public Design Commission will serve as respondents:

Philip E. Aarons, PDC Lay Member and Partner, Millennium Partners
Mary A. Valverde, PDC Sculptor Member and Interdisciplinary Artist


A reception with wine and light fare will precede the program.


Top image, from left:

Sugar in my Bowl by Chakaia Booker, Weeksville Heritage Center, Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn, 2012
Swing Low by Alison Saar, Harriet Tubman Plaza at St. Nicholas Avenue, Manhattan, 2008
Joan of Arc by Anna Von Hyatt Huntington, 93rd Street and Riverside Drive, Manhattan, 1915
Plaza Perch by Austin Thomas, Humboldt Plaza at Humboldt Street, Brooklyn, 2016

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Date and Time

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Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Contact the organizer to request a refund.

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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