Public Art Exhibits by Women on Display at NYC Parks

This Women's History Month, join us in celebrating women in art and their powerful stories about representation, sexism, culture, immigration, and community that they bring to life in NYC's parks. Take a look at just some of the featured art installations in our parks by women artists, and visit our Art in the Parks page to discover still more temporary public art exhibits by female artists that are currently on display in our parks.

Inspired by "What's Left" by Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine (Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney) | Prospect Park in Brooklyn

Image Credit: David Andrako

This installation comes from the 1993 Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) poem, “won’t you celebrate with me.” Clifton's words offer a reminder of the daily struggle for survival that Black women endure and of the work for racial equality that still remains to be done. Through the word "celebrate," the quote provides a more nuanced understanding of the ongoing struggle for equality and connects to the artwork’s call for both joy and work, anger and love. Known as a host for many joyous and powerful celebrations, this installation continues Prospect Park and the Bandshell’s history as a gathering space and platform where Brooklyn can unite under a common cause. This has come even more to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, where it has served as the backdrop for moments of protest and joy, celebration and memorialization, making it the perfect location for this installation. On display through May 2, 2021. Learn more about Inspired By “What Is Left” by Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney

Brick House by Simone Leigh | High Line in Manhattan

Photo credit: Adrian Sas/NYC Parks

Brick House is the first monumental work in Anatomy of Architecture, Simone’s continuing series of sculptures that combine architectural forms from regions as varied as West Africa and the American South with the human body.  Brick House is a sixteen-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman. The torso is a combination of the forms of a skirt and a clay house. The sculpture references numerous architectural forms: Batammaliba architecture from Benin and Togo; the teleuk of the Mousgoum people of Cameroon and Chad; and the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in the southern U.S. All three references inform both the formal elements of the work—the conflated image of woman and architecture—and its conceptual framework. Leigh’s magnificent Black female figure challenges visitors to think more immediately about the architecture around them, and how it reflects customs, values, priorities, and society as a whole. On display through Spring 2021. Learn more about Brick House by Simone Leigh

Liberty Bell by Nancy Baker Cahill | Rockaway Beach in Queens

whispy abstract art floating above the ocean
Photo credit: Image by Ne

Liberty Bell is an animated, monumental, and richly sonorous augmented reality (AR) drawing in 360 degrees. Inspired by the original cracked Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the drawing hovers beyond viewers, swaying with the rich and layered sound of bells tolling. The Liberty Bell soundscape morphs from the rhythmic lulling of a tolling bell, into a harmonious and dissonant sequence of ringing as it becomes increasingly unpredictable and arrhythmic. The richly textured brushstrokes and bell sounds resemble loosely knitted threads that unravel and come together in an uncomfortable, but cohesive moment. They reflect the evolution and transformation of liberty over time into the complex reality we face today. Viewable through July 3, 2021. Learn more about Liberty Bell by Nancy Baker Cahill

Doors for Doris by Sam Moyer | Central Park in Manhattan

abstract blocks on a blaza
Photo credit: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY

To mark the threshold between Central Park’s boulder-filled terrain and Midtown Manhattan’s built environment, Sam Moyer has created a massive three-part sculpture, with a title that pays homage to Public Art Fund founder, Doris C. Freedman (1928-1981).  Each stone in Moyer’s mosaic compositions takes on an even more striking hue against the others and the locally-quarried rock, an apt metaphor that encourages us to consider the diverse character of our city and our interconnected lives within it. On display through September 12, 2021. Learn more about Doors for Doris by Sam Moyer

Love Letters by Soft-Firm | Times Square in Manhattan

rendering of the design in the hart of times square

Primarily composed of repurposed and donated plywood from building façades across New York City, Love Letters is a large-scale sculptural installation that invites a diversity of public participation themed around love and notions of interdependence, resilience, and inclusivity. On display through March 10, 2021. Learn more about Love Letters by Soft-Firm

7 x 7 (Hope) by Laura Lappi | Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens

a small, black hut-like structure in the park
Photo credit: Courtesy of the artist

Artist Laura Lappi challenges our preconceptions in this work in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This sculpture, about the size of some housing in Queens, asks us to rethink housing affordability in our immigrant communities. On display through September 5, 2021. Learn more about 7 x 7 (Hope) by Laura Lappi

Big Yard Mural by Shantel Martin | Seaside Playground in Queens

mural on the courts in the playground
Photo credit: Image courtesy of the Rockaway Hotel

Martin uses her signature lines, iconic shapes, and primarily monochromatic black and white imagery to reflect the vibrancy of Rockaway’s community and urban beach landscape. The transformed 16,000 square foot outdoor recreational space is now a 360-degree activation where text and images appear out of her fluid and interconnected lines. Her work explores identity as a critical pathway to self-expression and often asks, who are you? On display through October 10, 2021. Learn more about Big Yard Mural by Shantel Martin

Peace Gorilla by Noa Bornstein | Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Manhattan

a bronze statue of a waving gorilla
Photo credit: Image courtesy of the artist

Cast in bronze in 2020, this sculpture was originally created by Brooklyn-based artist Noa Bornstein ten years ago out of sisal fiber and burlap in structolite and plaster over an armature of wire mesh and plumbing sections. The sculpture is mounted on a low concrete base inscribed with the word for ‘friend’ in 90 languages—beginning with the six official languages of the UN—all learned or verified with speakers of the languages over the last year. On display through August 15, 2021. Learn more about Peace Gorilla by Noa Bornstein

Big Bird by Daniele Frazier | Highland Park in Brooklyn

A sculpture of a bird perched on a structure
Photo credit: Image courtesy of the artist

Big Bird features a six-foot-tall aluminum cutout of a white-bellied caique parrot, hand-painted in sign enamel. The bird is perched twenty feet above the ground, as if it were surveying the activities of park-goers below. Hanging from the perch is a bronze bell, recalling the types of "enrichment" toys that are provided for caged birds. On display through December 27, 2021. Learn more about Big Bird by Daniele Frazier

Another way it could go by Jeannine Han and Dan Riley | Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens

blocks in various colors displayed in an abstract way
Photo credit: Image courtesy of the artists

This work pays homage to the incredible universe of possibilities present at every moment. The reality we find ourselves in is just a glimpse or sliver of an epic landscape of decisions that constantly eludes us. This work illustrates a bit of this conundrum by constructing a living model from a computer simulation in which multiple dimensions of decisions have been overlaid. It is dedicated to the infinite histories taken and untaken that have led everywhere and nowhere. The embedded hand-laid mosaic refers directly to the location of the sculpture in Corona, Queens and illustrates a hand placing a cube and “sprinkling some sauce all over,” as a local resident described. On display through October 15, 2021. Learn more about Another way it could go by Jeannine Han and Dan Riley

King Nyani by Gillie and Marc | Bella Abzug Park in Manhattan

a statue of a gorilla lying on the ground
Photo credit: Tina Sokolovskaya

In collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, artists Gillie and Marc Schattner have brought another version of King Kong’s story to the streets of New York, this time with love. Gorillas are one of our closest relatives sharing 98% of our DNA. They share many of the same behaviors as humans such as laughter and sadness. But there may be only 1000 mountain gorilla left in the wild and fewer than 3800 eastern lowland gorilla. On a trip to Uganda, the artists were able to see a family of mountain gorillas in the wild and were moved to tears at the loving family unit. Their sculpture is based on the head of the family, a dominant silverback gorilla. King Nyani, Swahili for gorilla, is the largest bronze gorilla statue in the world and gives an interactive experience unlike any other. With his hand large enough to fit 2-3 people, the public can get up close and personal with this gentle giant and fall in love with him. On display through August 23, 2021. Learn more about King Nyani by Gillie and Marc

Group Exhibitions Featuring Art By Women

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