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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Temporary Public Outdoor Art Guidelines

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Through collaborations with arts organizations and artists, hundreds of temporary artworks have been exhibited in City parks since 1967. A list of recent temporary public art projects is available online.

Projects range from international exhibitions to local, community works and may be displayed in prominent flagship parks, neighborhood parks and playgrounds, and traffic islands. Installations may last from two weeks to one year, typically remaining on view for three to six months. Exhibitions of shorter duration (two weeks or less) are classified as public events and will be overseen by Parks’ borough offices. There are separate procedures for mural projects.

Application Process

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit materials at least six months prior to the intended installation date to allow time for proposal review and project development. Artists and organizations outside New York City may apply, but please be aware that the artist or sponsoring organization is required to be present for site visits, community board meetings, installation, maintenance and removal of artwork.

Where to Exhibit

Virtually any park in New York City can host a public artwork, and nearly one in ten parks has done so. Our Artist’s Guide to NYC Parks Public Art Sites highlights two dozen parks that show promise and potential as community art hubs. These parks are in highly visible and well-trafficked locations, but exist in neighborhoods that have been underserved by cultural programming.

Download the Artist’s Guide to NYC Parks Public Art Sites.

Parks' Responsibilities

  1. Review and select projects recommended by the advisory committee based on Selection Criteria.
  2. Prepare legal documents for signature by artist or organization.
  3. Grant Artist sole ownership and copyright of the final design and artwork.
  4. Provide general coordination assistance with press, mailing, and other city agencies.
  5. Produce identifying signage using Parks design and sign shop. Alternative signage can be produced at cost to the exhibitor, subject to Parks approval.

Exhibitor Responsibilities

  1. Propose high quality art that responds to guidelines.
  2. Provide funding for fabrication, installation, maintenance, insurance, bond, deinstallation, and site restoration.
  3. Obtain necessary insurance policies naming  NYC Parks and the City of New York as additional insureds.
  4. Some projects may require technical reports prepared by a licensed engineer.
  5. A maintenance bond, which will be returned to the exhibitor upon restoration of the site.
  6. Oversee installation of artwork (tools, materials and equipment not provided by Parks).
  7. Coordinate with Parks Press Office.
  8. Monitor and maintain the artwork during the display period.
  9. Oversee deinstallation of artwork and site remediation.
  10. Grant Parks the right to a royalty-free, perpetual license to use any depictions of the artwork for non-commercial purposes (credit will be given to the exhibitor).

Submission Requirements

  • A written description of proposed artwork, including: title (for Committee/Dept. reference), medium, dimensions (Height x Width x Depth), weight, installation method and anchoring procedure.
  • If proposing existing work: Photographs or slides of artwork; include reference to human scale.
  • If proposing a new work: working drawings and/or photograph of maquette to scale. Include dimensions.
  • Artist’s statement and resume
  • Installation BUDGET, including a description of the sponsoring organization or other method of financing. Include the name, address and phone number of the contact person.
  • Proposed DURATION and EXHIBITION PERIOD of the exhibition
  • The LOCATION of specific site(s) for the installation
  • Up to ten prints or slides of the artist’s previous work.  All images must be clearly labeled with the name of the artist, title of the work, media and dimensions (H x W x D).
  • For initial consideration by the Committee, the above information should be sent by email with jpeg images
  • There is no deadline for proposals.
  • For initial consideration by the Committee, the above information should be sent by email with jpeg images

Parks Department Review Process

A departmental panel, including the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation or his representative, reviews proposals.  Issues of particular concern to Parks include safety and durability of the artwork, and its suitability to the site.  Following the approval of a proposal, a license agreement is issued to an artist and/or sponsoring organization.  For many projects it will be necessary to obtain the approval of the local community board. 

There is no deadline for submitting proposals. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you request that proposal materials be returned to you. Send proposals to:

Public Art Coordinator
City of New York, Parks & Recreation
The Arsenal, Central Park, Rm. 20
New York, NY 10065
Phone: (212) 360-8163

Related Information

Temporary Public Sculpture: Park Avenue Malls Guidelines and Information (PDF, 142 KB)

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