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PR- 178-09
April 20, 2009


With Foreword by Mayor Bloomberg, Book Features Diverse Examples of Artworks in New York City Public Schools

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the publication of Public Art for Public Schools, a new book celebrating the more than 1,500 works of public art, architecture and design found in New York City public school entrance halls, courtyards, and auditoriums. The 240-page book, written by Michele Cohen, director of the New York City School Construction Authority's Public Art for Public Schools program, examines school design and decoration and celebrates the role and history of public art in the City's public schools from the late 19th century through present day. Thanks to support from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation and The ABNY Foundation, every public school library throughout the five boroughs will receive a complimentary copy of the book, which features an extensive collection of photographs of school art and architecture taken by Stan Ries. Mayor Bloomberg, who contributed the foreword for Public Art for Public Schools, will host a reception this evening to celebrate the launch of the book. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the Public Art for Public Schools book, published by The Monacelli Press, will go to The Fund for Public Schools and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City to support arts education.

"New York City has a rich and wonderful cultural community - it's no wonder that our schools are home to some of our City's most incredible art works," Mayor Bloomberg said. "As we build new schools for future generations, we will continue the tradition of creating dynamic and vibrant learning environments where students can thrive academically and artistically."

"Public Art for Public Schools takes readers on a wonderful, eye-opening tour of our schools," Chancellor Klein said. "We are committed to outstanding school architecture and providing students with learning environments that are both welcoming and inspiring. I want to thank Michele for her hard work in preserving and cataloguing the amazing art in our schools."

"This book has been a labor of love that is the culmination of many years of work that began with my own discovery of the collection and school buildings," Michele Cohen said. "I am delighted that I can now share this knowledge with teachers and students. My appreciation goes to all the artists and architects who have helped shape the New York City public schools."

The Bloomberg Administration is creating more new public school buildings than ever before. Many of the new schools are featured in Public Art for Public Schools, such as the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science building in the Bronx and I.S./H.S. 43 the Jerome Parker Campus on Staten Island. The School Construction Authority's current capital plan calls for the creation of 116,000 new classroom seats by 2012. This year, the City is expected to open 22 new school buildings in September.

The diverse artwork in City public schools range from stained glass by Tiffany Studios and large murals commissioned by the WPA, to modern and contemporary works by artists such as Hans Hofmann, Ben Shahn, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, and Vito Acconci. Illustrations of the entire art collection in the City's school buildings are part of an on-line database on the Department of Education website, The database also includes background information on the art and lesson ideas for teachers. The lesson ideas have been created to provide a direct link between New York State learning standards and the New York City Blueprint for the Arts and the art and architecture found in the schools.

Public Art for Public Schools' publication marks the 20th anniversary of both the School Construction Authority and the Public Art for Public Schools program. Public Art for Public Schools is a unit of the Department of Education and a program of the School Construction Authority in collaboration with the Percent for Art program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine   (212) 788- 2958

David Cantor / Ann Forte   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

Nicolas Rojas (Monacelli)   (212) 572-2818

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