NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and The Alliance for Downtown New York President Elizabeth H. Berger today announced the completion of Richard Pasquarelli's "Secret Gardens " installation on construction fencing alongside the Chambers Street road improvement project in Lower Manhattan. The first section of the mural was installed earlier this month on Chambers Street between West and Greenwich streets, with the second portion of the printed, vinyl mesh design being added from Greenwich Street to West Broadway this morning, finalizing the artwork, which now stands five feet tall and spans a full 1,000 feet long. "Secret Gardens " is a joint project by DOT's Urban Art Program and the Downtown Alliance Re:Construction initiative, which paid for the installation. Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Downtown Alliance President Berger were joined by artist Richard Pasquarelli and other contributing partners at Chambers and Greenwich streets for a dedication ceremony highlighting the new public artwork.
"'Secret Gardens' brings color and imagination to Chambers Street, transforming it into a visually engaging streetscape even as the important work to rebuild the street from top to bottom is underway," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan.
"Re:Construction is the best kind of public-private partnership, an ongoing opportunity for government, artists, curators, property owners and business people to transform the pedestrian experience in Lower Manhattan. Richard Pasquarelli's 'Secret Gardens' is a perfect example," said Downtown Alliance President Berger. "Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Assistant Commissioner Feuer for their partnership and visionary approach to making the urban landscape more pleasant for Lower Manhattan's 300,000 workers, 55,000 residents and six million annual visitors. Thanks, too, to Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman Avi Schick and President David Emil for supporting this important reconstruction initiative."
"Seeing the work actually installed after imagining it in my mind's eye has been exciting for me," said Richard Pasquarelli. "The placement of the piece, on the edge of the sidewalk, concealing the street, and creating the illusion of an ivy-covered wall along a long narrow alley, increases the sense of intimacy and invites people to take a closer look. Its placement next to a school is especially nice, and I hope that the children, as well as the adults in the community will enjoy taking glimpses into other worlds and use them as a springboard for their own imaginations."
"In 'Secret Gardens,' Richard Pasquarelli not only creates something beautiful to look at if you are quickly walking by, but he gives viewers something to contemplate if they want to take a little more time," said Karin Bravin of BravinLee programs and the project's curator. "He invites people to peer in and he offers so many visual surprises with this work. Instead of 'DO NOT ENTER,' Pasquarelli is saying, 'Please enter and take a look.'"
"Secret Gardens" is the latest art project connected with DOT's Urban Art Program, which brought artist Richard Pasquarelli and the site of the City's road improvement project together with the Downtown Alliance for the organization's Re:Construction program. The Downtown Alliance, which temporarily installs art on construction sites throughout Lower Manhattan, has successfully installed over a dozen art projects since the program's pilot in 2007.
Launched in October 2008, DOT's Urban Art Program brings the vision of the agency's World Class Streets initiative to life by partnering with community organizations to install murals, sculptures and other art forms in plazas and on medians, triangles, sidewalks, jersey barriers and construction fences for up to 11 months on DOT properties citywide. This installation and others under the Urban Art Program exemplify the agency's ongoing work to recreate the public realm by recasting streets and sidewalks of New York City as safer, more inviting, attractive destinations for everyone. For more information about DOT's Urban Art Program, visit www.nyc.gov/urbanart.
Re:Construction is a public art program produced by the Downtown Alliance and funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Engaging, thoughtful and whimsical, the temporary artworks are creating colorful landmarks and brightened streetscapes as they help mitigate the impact of Downtown's numerous building projects. The program began in 2007 and has produced 16 pieces, seven of which are up for viewing. BravinLee programs consulted on the three new installments for the Downtown Alliance. For more information on all Re:Construction projects, including high resolution photos of installed projects, visit www.downtownny.com/reconstruction.