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Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award

2015 Application Guidelines

Deadline: March 22, 2015
Installation: Fall 2015 (subject to change)

The Award

Clare Weiss (1966-2010) was the Public Art Curator for New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation. During her tenure she curated more than 100 outdoor public art installations throughout the city and organized complex, thought-provoking and visually compelling thematic exhibitions for the Arsenal Gallery. Clare’s passion, humanity, energy, courage, and collaborative zeal were valued by all who knew her.

The Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award is granted annually to one emerging artist who submits the most compelling proposal for an outdoor sculpture in a New York City park. The location changes annually and is determined based on the site’s visibility and proximity within a neighborhood underserved by public art.


Court Square Park, located in Long Island City, Queens has been selected as the location for the 2015 Award. Tall birch trees surround a central fountain, which leads up to the steps of the neo-English Renaissance courthouse. The park is visible from the highly trafficked Jackson Avenue, the adjacent Citigroup Building, and the subway entrance. Artwork can be sited on the lawns and pathway, but cannot be attached to the fountain. There is an existing concrete pad measuring 17’ 6” x 10’ 6” on the southwest lawn on that can be used to display artworks. Please note, the proposal should allow for pedestrian flow and objects cannot be attached to trees. Proposals cannot be made for the paved plaza directly in front of the Court House, as this is not part of NYC Parks’ property. If the sculpture is anchored into the pavers, the budget should allow for the cost of replacing damaged pavers. These guidelines should be taken into consideration when drafting proposals for this park. The selected sculpture will be exhibited for a maximum of one year.

Artists are strongly encouraged to visit Court Square Park before submitting a proposal. Applicants must take into account the site's terrain and submit proposals that will stand up to the park’s particular urban outdoor environment. Sculptures installed in New York City’s Parks must meet the department’s safety requirements and be able to withstand the effects of weather and public interaction.

No proposals for previously exhibited sculptures will be accepted. This award is open to New York City-based emerging artists only.


The chosen recipient will be granted an award in the amount of $10,000.  The recipient is highly encouraged to procure in-kind support and other additional funding necessary to support this installation.

The Award recipient shall be solely responsible for the installation and removal of the artwork and shall provide at his or her sole cost and expense, all labor, services, and supervision necessary.  Additional expenses the artist will be responsible for include fabrication, insurance and maintenance. At the end of the award term, the artist is responsible for returning the park location to its original condition. This project must adhere to Parks’ specifications for public art.

The Parks Department will assist the awarded artist with technical logistics such as permitting and site specifications. The artist will be responsible for engineering documents if they are necessary.

The Award recipient will be selected through an open application process. Proposals will be reviewed by a jury comprised of an artist, an independent curator, and a Parks Department representative. Proposals will be judged according to artistic and creative merit and suitability to the site.


Proposals will only be accepted from New York City-based emerging artists— artists who have specialized training in their field (not necessarily gained in an academic institution), who are at an early stage in their career, and who have created a modest independent body of work. Artists who are enrolled in a school, college or university are not eligible for the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award.


March 22, 2015: Proposals due. Proposals can be submitted earlier.
May 2015: Award Recipient announced
Fall 2015: Sculpture installed in Park with dedication ceremony and opening reception

Application Procedure

Proposals must include:

  • Resume with current contact information
  • One-page statement describing artist’s work in general
  • Proposed sculpture
    • detailed description of no more than two written pages
    • representative drawings or renderings if sculpture has not been fabricated
    • images of sculpture if it is already fabricated
    • list of materials proposed/used; dimensions (including weight)
    • installation recommendations
    • maintenance recommendations
  • Names and full contact information of two references who are familiar with artist and artist’s work
  • 5-6 images of previous work (8x10 color prints or if emailing jpegs no larger than 1 MB each); each image should be labeled and succinctly described
  • Self-addressed, stamped postcard if you would like to receive notification that your proposal was received.

Materials will not be returned. All materials must be received by March 22, 2015. Proposals should be sent or emailed to:

Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award
Art & Antiquities
City of New York Parks & Recreation
The Arsenal
New York, NY 10065

Previous Award Winners

2014 Award Winner

Jarrod Beck, Uplift

August 20, 2014 – August 19, 2015
Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Manhattan

Uplift sits on a tree–lined terrace in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Made from recycled rubber conveyor belts once used to cart ore out of West Virginia mines, the work suggests stratified rock or a grouping of recently unearthed tectonic plates. Uplift is both memorial and artifact, reminding us of loss, but also rooted in a deep time beyond our memories.

2013 Award Winner

Karlis Rekevics, All-Too-Familiar Tangle

Karlis Rekevics All-Too-Familiar Tangle photo by Karley Klopfenstein

June 27,2013 – June 27, 2014
Tappen Park, Staten Island

Recipient of the third annual Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award, Karlis Rekevics is drawn to the overlooked part of our urban landscape that we regularly see but rarely register: bridge supports, store facades, guardrails, signs, and scaffolding. After documenting notable forms and architecture around the park, Rekevics created a series of wooden molds that combine recognizable elements in altered scales. The monumental All-Too-Familiar Tangle references the wooden bollards that line the coast near the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the neo-classical limestone columns and rounded portico entryway of the landmarked Staten Island Savings Bank located at 81 Water Street. Further investigation reveals the dormer window details from the park’s historic Village Hall conflated with the defining form of the sculpture—a wall-like structure with three peaks and low windows that echoes the distinctive pink design that covers the face of 7 Beach Street.


Katherine Daniels, Ornamental Paths

Courtesy of NYC Parks

June 7, 2012 to June 2013
Joyce Kilmer Park, Bronx

Katherine Daniels transforms everyday objects and materials into elaborately woven ornamental forms in her site specific installation, Ornamental Paths. The large-scale pieces are currently on view on the Grand Concourse between 161st and 164th Streets in the Bronx. “The placement of the weavings defines the inner triangular shape at the heart of Joyce Kilmer Park and creates a place where people can enter into a spatial drawing.” The brick and mosaic Art Deco patterns that have historically defined the neighborhood’s architectural landmarks are interpreted through Daniel’s interlaced geometric forms, horizontal stripes, and vertical bands that grace the park’s permanent wire fencing. Transcendent of an ordinary walk through the park, a stroll through Ornamental Paths will be a new experience full of color and history.


Ruth McKerrell, Ancient, Goatie Boy, and Goat as Wolf

Ruth McKerrell, Ancient, 2010, aluminum

June 1, 2011 to May 30, 2012
Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn

McKerrell’s three sculptures, originally made of reclaimed Styrofoam, have been cast in aluminum, giving them a timeless presence reminiscent of traditional garden statuary. Two sprightly goats and an alert deer will animate this welcoming space. Attracted to the naiveté and purity of animals, McKerrell has focused on them in her recent drawings and sculptures. A native of Scotland, she frequented local farms as a child and even owned a pet goat, which inspired Goatie Boy. A regular visitor to the Central Park Children’s Zoo, she creates studies from direct observations, as well as historical paintings, and anatomical reference books. However, her final works are made entirely from memory, working intuitively as she imbues her playful subjects with plasticity, life, and undeniable charm. McKerrell is attracted to the “freeness and rawness” of her modeling materials, which permit her to work spontaneously, and comments that they enable her to “create textured surfaces suggestive of an animal’s tactile form.”


Please help sustain the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award. Please send contributions payable to the City Parks Foundation with CWEAA noted in the Memo field to NYC Parks & Recreation, Art & Antiquities, The Arsenal, Central Park, Room 20, New York, NY 10065. For more information, please contact Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Art & Antiquities  at (212) 360-3410 or Jennifer Lantzas, Public Art Coordinator at (212) 360- 8163.

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