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For Immediate Release
September 20, 2010


Public is encouraged to choose from eight designs at

Voting Ends October 1 – Winners Announced Later this Year

Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin today announced the eight design finalists for the urbancanvas Design Competition and invited the public to choose the winners by casting their votes at Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation’s grant to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the competition seeks to beautify construction sites by challenging professional artists and designers to create artwork that can be installed on construction fences, sidewalk sheds, supported scaffolds and cocoon systems, which are used to protect the public during the construction process. Starting today through October 1, the public can visit to vote for the winners, which will be announced later this year. Up to four winning designs will be awarded a prize of $7,500 courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation’s grant to the Mayor’s Fund.

“These designs will re-define the look of our streets and our City,” said Buildings Commissioner LiMandri. “The caliber of the work we received was extraordinary, and it made the task of selecting the finalists quite difficult. But the competition is not over – I strongly encourage the public to vote so that a wide range of design sensibilities are reflected in the art ultimately selected. I am confident the winners will transform bleak and often unappealing construction sites into visually stimulating, inspiring elements of the City’s streetscapes.”

“The urbancanvas Design Competition is helping to ensure that New York City remains a nexus of creativity and innovation by supporting the work of artists and enhancing the streetscape with cutting-edge design,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. “We are also thrilled that the competition allows the public to participate in selecting the visuals that will enliven spaces across the City.”

“The urbancanvas Design Competition is a truly innovative way to take construction sites, which are vital to the growth of our city, and develop them into beautiful artwork that celebrates the creative expression that is central to New York City’s identity,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. “The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to congratulate the eight finalists and encourages all New Yorkers to vote for the design that they think will enrich and most inspire residents to experience the power of art and design as they walk down the city’s streets every day.”

Selected from a pool of more than 100 design submissions, the eight finalists are: “Breathing_Wall_UC,” by Monika Bravo; “Bang,” by Jiyoun Lee-Lodge; “Color Mesh,” by Mauricio Lopez with Jesse T. Ross; “My Urban Sky,” by Jen Magathan; “Untitled,” by Jordan Seiler; “…of Special Concern,” by Chris Shelley; “Green Screen,” by Corinne Ulmann; and “JazzLine,” by Philip Michael Wolfson with Chris Ridout and Maxim Nilov.

The designs were submitted from 17 states, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington State. The designs were evaluated by the competition’s jury based on their artistic merit, originality and ability to adapt to various temporary protective structures, sizes, configurations and different locations. In the creation of their designs, competitors were asked to develop artwork that took New York City’s diverse populations into consideration. The finalist designs reflect diversity, complement and enliven the City’s varied streetscapes and promote the safe maintenance of temporary protective structures. After being selected by the jury, the chosen designs were submitted to the Public Design Commission of the City of New York for review and approval.

The competition’s jury was comprised of: Polly Apfelbaum, artist; Dan Brodsky, Senior Partner of the Brodsky Organization and of the Real Estate Board of New York; Ignacio Ciocchini, IDSA, Director of Design and Streetscape Development, Bryant Park Corporation; Carl Galioto, FAIA, Senior Principal, HOK and of the New York Building Congress; Sagi Haviv, Partner, Chermayeff & Geismar; Jennifer McGregor, Director of Arts & Senior Curator, Wave Hill; Sara Reisman, Director, Percent for Art Program, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Eddie Torres, Associate Director, the Rockefeller Foundation; and NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri. The Public Design Commission of the City of New York was represented by Paula Scher, a Principal at Pentagram Design, who served in an advisory capacity. Susanna Sirefman of Dovetail Design Strategists is the competition advisor overseeing the development and management of the competition.

Following the announcement of the winning designs, the Department of Buildings will launch the urbancanvas Pilot Program. Under the Pilot Program, property owners, contractors and businesses will be invited to select one of the winning designs and install it on temporary protective structures located on or over City-owned property. Eligible participants will have the option of placing a pictorial rendering of the exterior of the project being built on the temporary protective structures in lieu of artwork. Selected designs will be allowed to include the name of one art sponsor displayed in accordance with the Pilot Program specifications.

The Department will conduct the urbancanvas Pilot Program under New York City Charter Section 645(b)(2)(g) which allows the Commissioner “to permit in specific cases experimental or demonstration construction not in compliance with the building code.” The NYC Construction Codes currently prohibit, with limited exceptions, the posting of any material on temporary protective structures.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Ryan FitzGibbon (Buildings) (212) 566-3473
                    Danai Pointer (Cultural Affairs) (212) 513-9322