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“IT’S HAPPENING!” NYC PARKS TO CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF PUBLIC ART PROGRAM WITH FESTIVAL IN CENTRAL PARK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 19, 2017
No. 108
http://www.nyc.gov/parks

NYC Parks Celebrates Art in Parks 50th Anniversary: Video

NYC Parks will host “It’s Happening!,” a one-time festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of Art in the Parks, its public art program, this Saturday, October 21. Inspired by the fleeting, free-flowing art “happenings” that popped up in parks across New York City in the 1960s, “It’s Happening!” will capture the same spontaneous spirit with 50 pieces of public artwork on display, approximately 50 performances and workshops. Parks will transform Central Park’s beautiful East Pinetum field into a museum, art studio and stage for a day of public art to celebrate this milestone. In honor of the anniversary, Parks also gathered several artists who have exhibited with us in the past for a special birthday video.

“Happy 50th anniversary, Art in the Parks!” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “New York City’s parks are one of the country’s greatest outdoor public art museums. With hundreds of permanent works in our collection, and more than a dozen works of temporary art on display at any given time, there’s always something new to see just around the corner. This is thanks to our long history of engaging with local artists and creating new arts destinations across the five boroughs. ‘It’s Happening!’ is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience New Yorkers will not want to miss!”

“Congratulations to Art in the Parks on this extraordinary milestone,” said NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “For fifty years, this groundbreaking program has made art an integral part of parks in all five boroughs. From permanent pieces that shape and define these vital public spaces to temporary artwork that invites New Yorkers to see their city with new eyes, Art in the Parks has become essential to the fabric of our city. In a place so deeply defined by its cultural community and creative energy, it also gives artists opportunities to do thoughtful, playful, or provocative pieces – often all at once. This festival is a great opportunity to celebrate this important legacy and we look forward to Art in the Parks connecting artists to residents and visitors for generations to come.”

“The arts and culture are part of the rich fabric of New York City, making our city a top destination for visitors year after year,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. “As a proud representative of New York City and its parks, I remain in awe of their long history and cultural significance. It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Art in the Parks on 50 years of bringing beauty and joy to all who cherish our beloved parks."

“It’s Happening!” will include over 100 activities. Some highlights:
• Queens Museum, Art Built, & Nick Kozak: What it means to be a global citizen
• DreamYard: Create your own mosaic
• Outer Seed Shadow & Juanli Carrión: Spice portraits
• NYC Parks Arts, Culture & Fun and Art Students League: Origami in the Park
• Public Art Fund & the Children’s Museum of the Arts: Workshop inspired by Public Art Fund's citywide exhibition Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
• Limon Dance Company & Bryant Park Corp: Modern dance workshop
• Bronx Museum of the Arts: Button-making based on Bronx public artworks
• Blythe Cain: Painting images of public artworks with natural pigments

NYC Parks’ Art in Parks: 50 Years
Since 1967, NYC Parks’ public art program Art in the Parks has transformed the five boroughs into one of the world’s largest public galleries, and brought NYC Christo’s The Gates, Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture, Keith Haring’s Crack is Wack mural and many more iconic pieces. Now in its 50th year, Art in the Parks continues its mission to bring contemporary public artworks to the city’s parks, making New York City one of the world’s largest open-air galleries. Over five decades, NYC Parks has collaborated with arts organizations and artists to produce over 2,000 public artworks by 1,300 notable and emerging artists in over 200 parks.

Art in the Parks began to form when Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs (then united as one agency) organized the group outdoor exhibit Sculpture in Environment. The intent was to use public space as an outdoor museum, letting works of art “loose in the city, to set them under the light of day where they intrude upon our daily walks and errands.” In the intervening decades, a pair of significant trends emerged. Previously untapped public spaces became coveted outdoor galleries in which to display contemporary art, and the new forum provided a stage for emerging artists to display their work and reach wider audiences. Past exhibited works range from steel constructions to installations made from an assortment of organic biodegradable media. These public installations have helped launch careers, and they have also showcased the work of long-established artists.

Since then, Parks has developed the crucial Resources for Artists which offers artists a helpful guide on where to exhibit; partnerships with organizations like Sing for Hope and contemporary brands like UNIQLO; and even created a Public Art Map to give New Yorkers easier access to the city’s vast collection of pieces. For a fun retrospective on 50 years of public art in parks, check out our website. Follow us at #ArtintheParks on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and on Periscope and Facebook Live to participate in the live broadcast of “It’s Happening!”

“It’s Happening!” is presented by TD Bank. Other sponsors include Paul Kasmin Gallery, Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, Cabot, and Boxed Water.

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