News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2023 


The projects recognized as part of the combined 40th and 41st annual awards include five public artworks commissioned through Percent for Art and one cultural capital project at the Queens Botanical Garden 

New York, NY – NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo is celebrating the six Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) projects  that were recognized at this year’s Awards for Excellence in Design ceremony, announced yesterday by Mayor Eric Adams. In all, five public art projects commissioned through DCLA’s Percent for Art program and one cultural capital project at the Queens Botanical Garden were awarded. Each winning project embodies the intrinsic link between design excellence, performance, and functionality — ensuring they not only meet the aesthetic aspirations of the city, but also serve the needs of its diverse neighborhoods. The full list of 21 winning projects is available here.  

“Design excellence transcends the realm of aesthetic values — it encompasses a holistic approach to creating environments that not only captivate the senses but also promote equity, sustainability, and social cohesion,” said Mayor Adams. “As we envision a future that values inclusivity and harmony, we must ensure that every borough has equitable access to thoughtfully designed public spaces, neighborhood civic buildings, and inspiring artwork that resonates with individuals across generations. These spaces embody our commitment to creating an equitable society, where everyone can flourish and benefit from the transformative power of well-designed environments. As mayor, I am proud to be championing the importance of design excellence in all aspects of urban development.” 

“Great public art and public buildings can have a transformative effect on life in our city,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “The Department of Cultural Affairs is committed to working with our partners to create engaging public artworks through our Percent for Art program and to build world class cultural infrastructure through our unique strategy for public investment in cultural capital projects. I thank the Public Design Commission for this incredible honor, and applaud all of the artists and design teams whose work is being recognized.” 

“Each awarded project embodies the intrinsic link between design, performance, and functionality, ensuring they not only meet the aesthetic aspirations of our city, but also prioritize the needs and aspirations of our diverse communities and inspire all those who call New York City home,” said PDC Executive Director Sreoshy Banerjea. 

Award winning DCLA project renderings and details are available for download here; please credit the artist and, where listed, the architects below for the project renderings. The DCLA projects recognized were:  

41st Annual Awards for Excellence in Design (2022 Projects) 

Resonances  by Christopher Myers 

Brownsville Library, 61 Glenmore Avenue, Brooklyn 

A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program, the Department of Design and Construction, and the Brooklyn Public Library 

Christopher Myers 

Flexus  by Grimanesa Amoros 

Harper Street Yard, 30-01 Harper Street, Corona, Queens 

A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program, the Department of Design and Construction, and the Department of Transportation 

40th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design (2021 Projects) 

Life Could be a Dream by Jeffrey Gibson      

40th Police Precinct, 549 East 149th Street, Bronx 

A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Design and Construction, and the New York Police Department 

Jeffrey Gibson 

Bjarke Ingels Group 

Starr Whitehouse 

Queens Botanical Garden Education Building 

Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Elder Avenue between 134th Street and 136th Street, Flushing, Queens 

A project of the Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Queens Botanical Garden 

BKSK Architects 

OVS Landscape Architecture 

Rego Park Library including The Fore by Katrín Sigurdardóttir 

91-41 63rd Drive, Rego Park, Queens 

A project of the Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and Queens Library 

Weiss Manfredi 

Katrín Sigurdardóttir 

The Hawk and the Heron by Tatiana Arocha 

Music Hall, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island 

A project of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Design and Construction 

Tatiana Arocha 

Studio Joseph 

“Investing in design excellence yields significant economic benefits for our city and enhances the quality of life for all residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres- Springer. “I am grateful to our dedicated city agencies and consultant teams that are working tirelessly to ensure our capital projects embody the values of equity, sustainability, and aesthetics. Your collective efforts ensure our city will continue to be a thriving, welcoming, and culturally rich metropolis.”  

“Design excellence is about more than what — what material or color or form. It’s about the who — who are we designing for, and did they have meaningful opportunities to contribute their perspective?” said PDC President Deborah Marton. “Today’s projects demonstrate the Adams administration’s strong commitment to ensuring public buildings and civic spaces welcome and serve every New Yorker — congratulations!” 

"I create artwork that allows us to fully embrace what I often refer to as "living in a constant romance with the unknown." My latest lighting art sculpture, FLEXUS, was designed for the Harper's Street Asphalt plant to illuminate the area and its surrounding community, embracing its light on all New Yorkers and its welcomed visitors. Soon, the captivating lighting sculpture will glow brightly upon Harper's Street thanks to Percent Art, DDC, Stantec Architecture, and all the exceptional teams involved, whose support and collaboration will enable FLEXUS to become a reality,” said Grimanesa Amoros.  

“The land we now call New York City once contained more ecologically diverse communities of forests, wetlands, and marine life than many of our treasured national parks, including Yosemite or Yellowstone. Inspired by this, The Hawk and The Heron depicts a vision of this land’s abundance by recreating my own imagining of a forest to poetically represent our community’s past and present diversity,” said Tatiana Arocha.  

“I am honored to receive the Public Design Commission's Award for Excellency in Design for the installation of Life Could Be A Dream at the 40th Precinct station in the Bronx. I hope that the community will embrace the space created for them as a safe and welcoming environment where they can gather and build relationships with one another for the wellness of their communities. The installation is also meant to honor the Bronx based doo-wop group The Chords and their song 'Sh-boom' in the borough where they formed, and draw attention to all of the incredible and creative people who have come from the Bronx and whose creative contributions have gone out into the world and influenced other artists around the world. I want to especially thank my studio team, the staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Percent for Art program, and the officers at the 40th Precinct who have supported me throughout this process. Thank you very much,” said Jeffrey Gibson.  

“Queens Botanical Garden is thrilled to receive this recognition for our upcoming Education Building,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, Executive Director, Queens Botanical Garden. “This Building’s innovative design will add four classrooms, a teaching kitchen, an education solarium, a green roof, and ample space for indoor and outdoor programming, creating countless new learning opportunities. These spaces will fuel QBG’s mission to bring people, plants, and cultures together for exceptional encounters with nature in this true urban oasis.” 

“The new Education Building demonstrates the on-going commitment of QBG, DDC and DCLA to design excellence and environmental sustainability. We are proud of our 20-year involvement with the Garden and the opportunity to support their leadership as stewards of the environment, and in creating this resource for their diverse community,” said Joan Krevlin, Partner, BKSK.  

“I wanted to make an artwork that will be integral to the library, to the building itself; the mural, the holdings; the book and the place; the plants growing in Queens. Furthermore I wanted to make a work that reflects on the historic changes in the present, in the way we give and receive information, from physical to digital technology and how the transmittal of information always harks back to the natural environment (such as in the minerals in microchips and cellphone batteries). The title of the work refers both to that which came first and also to that which is in the foreground.  Nature gave us our original information systems, clay tablets and plant-derived paper and pigments.  And nature is now, more then ever, the urgent story that these systems bring us,” said Katrin Sigurdardottir.  


About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs  

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit