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After Overwhelming City Council Approval, Mayor de Blasio Welcomes New Nominees to Public Design Commission

November 5, 2020

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today welcomed two new members of the Public Design Commission (PDC), the City’s design review agency, after their nominations were overwhelmingly approved by the New York City Council. Deborah Marton, currently the Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, and Kenseth Armstead, a celebrated New York City artist, will officially join the PDC effective immediately.

“I’m proud to welcome Deborah and Kenseth to the Commission, where I know they’ll advocate for beautiful, useful, and lasting changes to New York City’s urban design,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Rebuilding a fairer city means using our public spaces more than ever, and I know their creativity and experience will serve them well as they find creative solutions.”

"We are, as a people and a city, immensely resilient. I'm delighted and honored to have the opportunity to work with PDC towards a city that's as flexible and resilient as its citizens,” said Deborah Marton.

"It’s an honor to serve on the Public Design Commission. Public space defines our experience of democracy and how we express ourselves in it. I’m excited to engage in this dialogue, with my PDC colleagues and fellow New Yorkers, as we strive to improve the city’s public spaces, their use and the artworks in them,” said Kenseth Armstead.

Deborah Marton is Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, an independent non-profit working to create equitable cities through inclusive design, with a specific focus on transformative community-driven projects that can benefit from Van Alen's global interdisciplinary network. Prior to joining Van Alen Institute, Deborah held the positions of Executive Director for the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), where she led the private component of New York City's MillionTreesNYC initiative, as well as Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space where she worked with municipal leaders and neighborhood change agents to empower communities of need by unlocking the potential of open space.

Kenseth Armstead is an artist whose works have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum and Guggenheim Museum, among numerous others. Over the last three years, he has served as a member of the New York State Council on the Arts, Visual Arts Panel which awards grants to support the visual arts statewide. This year he will be a Lecturer at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning. He will also be a guest lecturer at Oberlin and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Armstead studied at the Corcoran College of Art & Design, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

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