Arts and culture is an integral part of NYC DOT’s efforts to enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers in the public realm. Public art, performances and cultural programming presented on NYC DOT property create attractive corridors, activate public space, increase access to arts, cultural and educational resources, establish meaningful partnerships with community stakeholders, and provide paid opportunities to the creative arts sector of NYC.
*Be sure to review the Site Selection Guide: Eligible Transportation Infrastructure for Public Art before submitting your Arterventions application.
Temporary Art Program
NYC DOT has programmed nearly 450 temporary public art installations citywide and continues to pursue unique public art installations in collaboration with a diverse body of artists and partner organizations. Temporary public art beautifies NYC DOT infrastructure by transforming sidewalks, fences, triangles, medians, bridges, jersey barriers, step streets, public plazas and pedestrianized spaces into canvases and foundations for colorful murals, dynamic projections and eye-catching sculptures installed by artists in partnership with community based-nonprofit organizations.
Temporary art is permitted on NYC DOT property for up to 11 months. Interested organizations and artists are invited to submit proposals and qualifications in response to open calls. NYC DOT funds a number of programs but also offers permit opportunities for self-funded projects.
NYC DOT partners with galleries and nonprofit organizations to provide the necessary permits to commission artwork or relocate existing artwork currently on exhibit in a gallery, alternative art space or in a storage facility to NYC DOT owned property. Organizations are responsible for fully funding the installation and proposing a suitable site. Artwork usually remains on display for three to six months. For many plaza sites, the maximum display period is one month given other events and activities organized by local maintenance partners. NYC DOT issues a list of eligible site types annually to provide direction to interested organizations and artists. Organizations are also encouraged to review the Site Selection Guide before proposing potential sites, and may contact NYC DOT at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm site ownership in advance of submission. Artists are ineligible to apply without the support of a partner organization. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
NYC DOT Funded Initiatives
NYC DOT partners with community-based, nonprofit organizations to commission site-responsive public art for NYC DOT property. Community-based partners are identified by NYC DOT that have experience planning public programs or public art, the ability to monitor and maintain the artwork, the capacity to hold liability insurance, and a direct connection to the site. NYC DOT identifies priority sites for temporary art that are in need of beautification, large enough to accommodate artwork, and accessible to a diverse audience. An open call is released annually in partnership with community partners to solicit proposals from professional artists for a list of priority sites. NYC DOT collaborates with selected artists to implement projects within one year of approval. In addition to a project fee, NYC DOT provides engineering support for sculptural installations.
Asphalt Art Activations
NYC DOT partners with artists to paint large-scale murals onto repurposed asphalt that has been transformed into pedestrianized public spaces. Curb extensions, slip lane closures, bike share stations, and temporary plazas serve as canvases for Asphalt Art. NYC DOT designates sites near schools, community centers, arts institutions or commercial corridors for Asphalt Art. Asphalt sites range in size from 1,000 to 8,000 square feet. An open call is released annually to solicit qualifications from professional artists to be selected for inclusion in an artist registry, later to be short-listed for specific Asphalt Art opportunities within one of the five boroughs. Artists receive a project fee to execute the mural. Organizations interested in commissioning self-funded asphalt art on a self-selected site should apply through Arterventions and are welcome to select an artist from the Asphalt Art Artist Registry.
NYC DOT partners with volunteer service organizations and corporate volunteer programs to paint murals onto jersey barriers located along bike lanes and sidewalks. Barrier sites range in size from 200 to 2000 feet in length. An open call is released annually to solicit design concepts from professional artists for implementation at barrier sites citywide. Selected artists are assigned sites within one of the five boroughs and must be willing to adapt conceptual designs to any location. Artists are responsible for producing stencils and overseeing mural execution with volunteer assistance. NYC DOT collaborates with selected artists to implement projects within two months of approval. In addition to a design fee, NYC DOT provides additional materials and support to realize the murals.
Application Review Process
All applications are reviewed by the NYC DOT Art Advisory Committee, a panel of outside arts professionals representing varying disciplines and all five boroughs, based on the following criteria: public safety, artistic merit, site suitability and artwork durability.
Public Art at NYC DOT Events
NYC DOT hosts large-scale, car-free events, such as Summer Streets and Car-Free Earth Day, to reimagine the streets of New York City as more inviting public spaces without the noise and congestion of cars.
NYC DOT may commission interactive public art installations at designated sites along an event route. Artwork must be removed post event hours. Additional details provided in an open call. All applications are reviewed by committee based on the following criteria: public safety, organizational capacity, proposal merit and event suitability.
Permanent Art Collection
NYC DOT collaborates with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to commission permanent public art as part of capital construction projects dictated by the Percent for Art ordinance. NYC DOT is also responsible for managing and maintaining its Permanent Art Collection (pdf). For more information, visit DCLA Percent for Art Program’s website.