New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the fourth annual Barrier Beautification event—produced by the agency’s Urban Art Program in partnership with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and New York Cares—which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20. As part of New York Cares Day, a citywide day of service, more than 60 volunteers will paint concrete barriers along pedestrian and bicycle paths in Manhattan. DOT’s Barrier Beautification program transforms these structures from standard traffic safety elements into vibrant canvases for art that help reinvigorate the city’s in-between spaces. The unique, colorful designs selected for this spring’s Barrier Beautification initiative are from the international artist team Oyvind Renberg and Miho Shimizu and Brooklyn-based design team Xs, Sarah Strauss and Karin Tehve. Their designs will appear on concrete barriers along the FDR Drive Service Road East between E. 25th and E. 27th streets and 35th and 37th streets in Manhattan.
For the 400-foot concrete barrier from E. 25th and E. 27th streets along the FDR Drive, half of the volunteers will assist Renberg and Shimizu paint their narrative design (pictured below) depicting an 18th century Norwegian manor duck migrating along a fjord landscape. The title of the design, Damsgård, refers to the residential area of Bergen, Norway, that is known for beautiful mountain views and the rococo Damsgård manor.
The second group of volunteers will paint 500 feet of concrete barrier from 35th and 37th streets with XS artists Strauss and Tehve. The geometric patterns (pictured below) depict the abstracted movement of the stop-motion elevations of a walker’s stride and the acceleration-deceleration of urban vehicular traffic. Varying colors and angled lines will be used to impart subtle dimension and volume to the barriers.
New York Cares is the city’s largest volunteer organization. Founded in 1987, New York Cares runs volunteer programs for various nonprofits, as well as City agencies and public schools across the city. This is the fourth year that DOT is partnering with the organization to help reinvent the city’s streetscapes into inviting, attractive destinations.