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Street Artists Beautify 900 foot Tunnel

Many New Yorkers are surprised to discover that the 900 foot tunnel connecting the 1 subway line to 191st Street and Broadway is in fact a mapped city street. In May, four individual artists and one artist team were selected from a pool of 158 applicants to each paint two, 200 foot wall segments over a one week period within the 191st Street Tunnel in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Used daily by thousands of pedestrians, the walls unfortunately were covered in graffiti tags. At the community's request for beautification, the DOT Art Program managed a Request for Qualifications to identify artists to leave their distinctive mark on the eight foot high walls after DOT Bridges had installed new LED lighting the year prior. The tunnel was transformed into a brighter, livelier passageway with 95 gallons of acrylic house paint and 578 cans of spray paint. It took a small army to complete the murals on-site. The following DOT units assisted DOT Art in the agency-wide efforts to make the project possible: Roadway Repair and Maintenance, Street Lighting, Creative Services and the Sign Shop.

Local Washington Heights artist Andrea Von Bujdoss (Queen Andrea), who specializes in typography, painted the mural, “Prismatic Power Phrases” at the entrance and first interior section of the tunnel.

Maryland-based artist team Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn designed, “Caterpillar Time Travel,” a mural inspired by bold colors, woven textile patterns, and the architectural surface of the tunnel.

Nelson Rivas (Cekis), a Chilean-born muralist, transformed his walls into a realistic landscape titled, “It’s Like a Jungle Sometimes/Aveces es Como una Jungle.”

Queens-based artist Nick Kuzsyk, a geometric design specialist, used almost every shade in the color spectrum to produce his mural, “Warp Zone,” which plays with perspective and appears to warp the tunnel walls. 

“Art is Life,” painted by recognized graffiti artist from the South Bronx, Fernando Carlo, Jr. (COPE 2), covers the back wall of the tunnel and section closest to the subway entrance. 

Community Commissions Announcement

The DOT Art Advisory Committee recently selected three proposals from the Community Commissions Open Call for implementation this Summer/Fall 2015 or Spring 2016.

Early this fall, Arts Gowanus, the Old Stone House and artist Miguel Del Real will install a mural on the expressway walls at 4th Avenue and Prospect Avenue in Brooklyn. 

Later this fall, the Bronx River Arts Center will install “Boone at Brac,” a pavilion installation, by SLO Architects Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi, at West Farms Square Plaza in the Bronx. 

Next spring, the Kew Gardens Council for Recreation and the Arts will collaborate with artist Carla Reyes-Lister and local community volunteers to present a mural along the bridge wall located at 80th Road between Grenfell and Austin streets in Queens. 

Throw Back

During the depths of winter, Gowanus-based artist Ruth Hofheimer partnered with DOT Art and Arts Gowanus to install “Greenery,” a series of six plant-inspired steel sculptures, along the median at 4th Avenue and Prospect Avenue in South Slope, Brooklyn. While the vegetative sculptures provide a contrast to the surrounding urban landscape, the sculptures’ steel materials also reference the vehicular industries that dominate the avenue.


Coming Soon

DOT Art is partnering with the Art Production Fund and the Village Alliance to present “Everything” by Swedish artist Hanna Liden. The larger-than-life bagel sculpture will be installed within the Ruth Wittenberg Plaza at 6th Avenue and Christopher Street in Manhattan for one month this summer. Since Liden moved to New York City in 1998, the humble bagel has represented Liden’s life in the City as it was the first place she enjoyed a bagel. Visit Ruth Wittenberg Plaza and then, head to Hudson River Park at West Street and Christopher Street between July 20th and August 24th to view additional sculptures.

Spot Light

DOT Art and the Garment District Alliance recently installed, Seward Johnson in New York, three series of life-size bronze sculptures by American artist Seward Johnson, installed on the Broadway Plazas from 36th to 41st streets in Manhattan. The sculptures portray the “everyday” individual, iconic moments in American history and classical paintings. The exhibit includes the following three series: Icons Revisited, Celebrating the Familiar, and Beyond the Frame. Some of the sculptures featured will include: Forever Marilyn, God Bless America, Special Delivery, Frequent Flyers, La Promenade, Monet and Los Mariachis. Be sure to visit the plazas between June 24th and September 5th to take pictures with these famous figures and scenes. 

Barrier Beautification Announcement

Congratulations to the latest Barrier Beautification artists Elizabeth Hamby and Kati Vilim for their projects, “Alphabet City” and “Rhythmic Flow” located respectively at Flushing Avenue between Williamsburg Street West and Washington Avenue and Williamsburg Street West between Kent Avenue and Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn. Over 80 NY Cares volunteers came out to assist the artists with painting their designs over 2,100 feet of concrete barrier on Saturday, April 18, 2015. 

Elizabeth Hamby, Alphabet City

Kati Vilim, Rhythmic Flow

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