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Press Release

Friday, February 17, 2006


Delegations from nine of New York City’s "Sister Cities" attend conference

New York City Commissioner for the United Nations, Consular Corps, and Protocol, Marjorie B. Tiven, today welcomed delegations from nine of New York City's Sister Cities for the first international Sister City summit on public art. Joining Commissioner Tivens was Ambassador and President of the Sister City Program, Nancy E. Soderberg and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin. The Sister City Program of the City of New York promotes international understanding through business, security and cultural exchanges between the City of New York and selected cities throughout the world.

The one-and-a-half day summit, titled "Strategies for Public Art," will explore the myriad ways that public art make cities across the world more livable and attractive, and provides identity to local communities. The summit will also look at processes for creating and sustaining successful public art programs, including strategies for artist selection, planning, funding, maintenance and ensuring public support for public art.

Attending the summit are delegations from Beijing, Budapest, Cairo, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Rome, and Tokyo. These Sister City delegations include public officials responsible for public art, leaders in the public art field from the private sector and from local cultural institutions, as well as artists with experience in the field of public art. They will be joined by a delegation of 23 New Yorkers from the realm of public art, including government official, artists, curators and critics.

"This first-ever international Summit on public art will provide a unique exchange among our cities," said Ambassador Soderberg, President of the Sister Cities Program.  Not only will the delegates gain new approaches to public art but they can also build partnerships for meeting the challenges of the future."

"The Sister City Summit on Public Art provides two major benefits to New York City," said Commissioner Tiven.  "It promotes the unique range of New York's temporary and permanent public art to influential representatives from our international sister cities, and it gives New York's public art leaders the opportunity to learn from the experience of their counterparts in other cities."

"The fact that so many cities took it upon themselves to send delegations says a great deal about both the significance and timeliness of the topic of public art, as well as the strength of our connection to one another as Sister Cities," said Commissioner Kate Levin.  "New York is truly a global city that draws people from every corner of the world. This is what makes this city so dynamic, beautiful and livable. That is essentially what this international conference is all about - creating cities that we love."

The public art summit is timed to correspond with "The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005." As part of the schedule, on Thursday, February 17, participants will tour "The Gates" and meet with artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude for a discussion about the project. Accompanying the delegates on their tour will be Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris and New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. Panel discussions will take place at the New School University later that day. Throughout the conference, New York City delegates will highlight specific works of public art throughout the City's five boroughs.

As one of the world's leading urban centers and the world's largest United Nations and consular communities, New York City has enjoyed successful Sister City relationships since 1960. Today, New York City maintains effective and sustainable partnerships with 10 sister cities.

Silvia Alvarez (212) 788-2958
Sara Rutkowski (DCA) (212) 643-6690

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