Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York

Percent for Art

   Maren Hassinger

Ancestor Walk, Concrete, embedded artifacts, 1996

    See also: Fence of Leaves

Ancestor Walk

Completion Date:



Concrete, embedded artifacts




Public School 176


4862 Broadway, Manhattan


Gruzen Samton Steinglass

Sponsor Agency:

Board of Education

Design Agency:

School Construction Authority

Inspired by Native American living sites that have been found near the school, Maren Hassinger created Ancestor Walk , a sloping wall that begins at the top of the school gate and descends to ground level at the playground. Hassinger designed objects that refer to prehistoric Native American culture, including fabric, vessels, tools, and arrowheads, and mounted them along the top of the wall or embossed them along the sides. The artist explains that the artwork is "a memory piece which binds us to our past." Themes presented in the wall continue in the playground's sitting area. The concrete cap on the bench has embossed designs of tools and arrowheads similar to the wall's concrete cap. There are two rectilinear windows cut into the wall, with more vessels placed within them.

About the Artist...
Maren Hassinger is a public artist with permanent installations including: Twelve Trees #2 in Los Angeles, Necklace of Trees in Atlanta, Bushes at Socrates Sculpture Park, Plaza Planters and Tree Grates in Seattle, Tall Grasses on Roosevelt Island, Circle of Bushes at C.W. Post Campus, Cloud Room at Pittsburgh International Airport, and Evening Shadows at Cal State University. She has also received a Percent for Art commission for P.S. 8 in New York. While these projects were conceived and executed, she had three solo shows, Treachery and Consolation (1996) at the Trans-Hudson Gallery, Memory (1993) at the Benton Gallery, and in 1991 at the Gracie Mansion Gallery. She has exhibited in more than twenty-seven group shows during the same period, including the 1996 Twentieth Century American Sculpture at the White House, Exhibition IV. In 1996, she was the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Artists and was recognized by the International Association of Art Critics for her solo show at the Trans-Hudson Gallery. For the past five years, she has been an adjunct professor at S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook.