PBS Thirteen’s Sunday Arts program profiles Materials for the Arts (MFTA), the amazing and popular New York City materials reuse program. Founded in 1978 and still growing under the aegis of the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, MFTA negotiates the transfer of hundreds of tons of materials annually from companies and individuals who no longer need them into the custody of artists and educators citywide who can make use of them. They are the largest provider of free art supplies to the City’s public school system and also serve as a treasure trove for non-profit and public entities engaged in cultural, health and social programs. We’ve been to their 25,000 sq. ft warehouse in Long Island City, and it’s truly incredible to consider their daily turnover in astonishingly valuable materials that would have otherwise entered the waste stream.
The New York City Department of Transportation has announced the winner of its reNEWable Times Square design competition, aimed to temporarily “refresh and revive” the streetscape of newly pedestrianized Times Square while plans for permanent reconstruction proceed (construction is slated for 1012). Brooklyn artist Molly Dilworth‘s Cool Water, Hot Island was selected from 150 submitted designs for the pedestrian zones along Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets. The piece is a large-scale painted installation abstractly interpreting—and mitigating!—Manhattan’s heat island effect. From NYCDOT’s release:
The proposed design’s color palette of striking blues and whites reflects more sunlight and absorb less heat – improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable to sit in. The color and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area’s signature marquees and billboards.
It seems like no New York City site has truly been inaugurated as a public space until it has hosted an avant-garde dance performance. Our time has come! A group of artists and performers organized by choreographer Kathy Westwater has developed a movement-based project responding to their research and on-site study of the Freshkills Park site over several visits this spring. PARK, as the project is called, isn’t a traditional dance performance—more a combination of movement, writing, and game playing. It is “concerned with our construction and consumption of nature.”
Kathy and her dancers have previously performed PARK in locations as varied as Yosemite Park and Dance Theater Workshop in Chelsea. This incarnation of the project, which will take place on June 26th, will follow an abridged tour of the Freshkills Park site and will involve audience participation for its duration (45 minutes to one hour), on the top of the scenic North Mound.
Parks Department buses will provide all attending guests transportation from the St. George Ferry Terminal at 9:30 am to the Freshkills Park site and return attendees to the terminal by 1 pm. This event is free, but space is limited, and registration is required. To RSVP please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 788-8277.
Saturday, June 26, 2010 | 9:30 am-1pm
The third annual ART by the Ferry Festival runs this weekend and next in Staten Island. Offerings will include visual arts, music, performance art, street performers, circus acts, crafts, literary readings, workshops and local food. Everything takes place within a few blocks of the St. George Ferry Terminal.
Saturday and Sunday, June 5th & 6th, 12th & 13th, Noon-8pm
Events and performances are free; workshops are $5 per person.
We received our beautiful, custom Key to the City yesterday from the folks at Creative Time. Feeling empowered and ready to open up that hidden door in the Brooklyn Museum. We also installed and verified the locked box inside the Freshkills Park tour bus. Tour attendees who hold the Key to the City: just let the tour guide know, and he/she will present the box and its exciting contents to you. We think this will be a really fun and enriching complement to the tours. (A note on this: we’ve reserved a limited number of seats on every public bus tour this summer for holders of the Key to the City. If you’re interested in joining a 10am or 1pm tour on 6/5, 6/19, 7/10, 7/24, 8/7 or 8/21 and you’ve got the Key, email email@example.com with the subject line Key to the City, to check availability.)
You can participate in Paul Ramirez Jonas’ summer-long project by being bestowed a key at the Times Square kiosk for the project, which opens today at 6pm and will start operating daily tomorrow through June 27th. You can also volunteer to be an official “key master,” distributing keys in the heart of Times Square.
As part of its annual SummerFest, the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) joins artist Tattfoo Tan in hosting a mobile garden expo and parade this Saturday, June 5th in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island. Attendees are encouraged to bring mobile gardens—gardens on wheels, in the form of skateboards, rolling office chairs, shopping carts or anything portable—to Tan’s garden on Monroe Street for the expo, followed by a parade to the St. George Ferry Terminal, where the gardens will take up residence for a month in the taxi plaza as part of the NYC Department of Transporation‘s urban art program, Arteventions.
Saturday’s event will also include a workshop by artist Jay Weichun on making ‘flower bombs’—clumps of flower seeds mixed with clay and potting soil to be tossed into abandoned urban spaces to help nature regain footing and beautify blight.
Sat, June 5, 2010 | 2-6 pm
Tattfoo Tan’s Garden
67 Monroe Avenue, Staten Island
The University of Buffalo has commissioned landscape architect Walter Hood to design a 5,000-panel solar array to be sited on 6.5 acres of its campus and to function as a signature piece of land art. The Oakland, CA-based Hood won out over proposals by Vito Acconci and Diana Balmori with his proposal for a fragmented grid, meant to recall DNA, supported on posts and suspended over low-maintenance grasses, crab-apple shrubs, ornamental lindens, trees and an existing creek, all of which will be publicly accessible. University officials were keen on commissioning a design for the array that would transcend the banality of most large-scale solar installations.
The project will be funded by a grant from the New York State Power Authority and will feed into the university’s grid, supplying on-campus housing with enough electricity for approximately 700 students.
The fifth annual Staten Island Film Festival starts tomorrow and features a slate of dozens of intriguing short and feature-length films, many of them about or featuring New York City’s outer boroughs. Participating filmmakers include 15 from Staten Island (including Wu-Tang Clan leader the RZA) as well as many more from throughout New York City and as far afield as Las Vegas and Australia. Some of these films sound amazing, and especially in the case of the Staten Island-based ones, this could be the best opportunity to catch them. The festival kicks off at the St. George Theatre with Michael J. Weithorn’s A Little Help tomorrow at 7pm.
Working with public art commissioning organization Creative Time, artist Paul Ramírez Jonas has assembled a project called Key to the City that will be taking place throughout New York City this summer. 35,000 specially crafted keys will be given away at daily ‘bestowal ceremonies’ at a kiosk in Times Square from June 3rd to 27th. The keys unlock 25 unique sites across the city for any keyholder. Locks will be operable through the end of the summer.
The Key to the City reinvents the civic honor of bestowing keys on luminaries as a master key able to unlock more than 20 sites across New York City’s five boroughs—such as locks within the Brooklyn Museum, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Tortilleria Nixtamal, Conference House Park, Rincon Crillo Cultural Center, and many more. Members of the public will award thousands of these custom-made keys to each other in one-to-one ceremonies.
Yes, Freshkills Park is among the sites with a lock that can be opened with the Key to the City. Recipients of the key (all 35,000) will also receive a map and guide to wielding it which will indicate how to make use of the key on the Freshkills Park site tour.
Times Square Key to the City Kiosk
open Mon–Fri 2–8pm, Sat–Sun 12–8pm
from June 3rd to 27th
The excellent “Fast Trash” exhibit—featuring Roosevelt Island‘s signature pneumatic vacuum tube garbage disposal system—closed this past weekend. A series of public programs including screenings, walking tours and even musical theater helped to make the exhibit, curated by architect Juliette Spertus, into a real must-see. The video above, which featured at Gallery RIVAA, doesn’t provide the larger international and infrastructural context of the full exhibit, but does provide a look at the history and operation of the pneumatic tube system. It also offers the reminder that no matter how elegantly designed the disposal system, garbage is not pretty.