A guide to free art around New York City

By Shaye Weaver

The city is its own art gallery.

The streets and parks are full of both permanent and temporary art and sculptures, from The Public Art Fund across Manhattan to Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City and points in between.

We've created a guide of some of the best temporary artworks, forthcoming installations and where you can see them across the five boroughs.

'Iceberg' (opens Jan. 9)

The Garment District has a new public artwork that lights up and makes sound based on the movements of those who walk through it. "Iceberg" tells the story of an iceberg from its creation to its melting and is made from a series of illuminated metallic arches in the shape of a tunnel that each produce a sound like a giant organ. The installation is by ATOMIC3 and Appareil Architecture in collaboration with Jean-Sébastien Côté and Philippe Jean.

Broadway Plaza from West 37th to 38th Streets

'Tilted Head' by Mark Manders (opens March 6)

"Tilted Head" by Dutch artist Mark Manders is a huge single-cast bronze sculpture that will sit at the southeast entrance to Central Park starting in March. The piece, which is over 13 feet tall, features an androgynous human head in classical repose. It's incomplete and propped by chairs and a large suitcase the artist made.

Doris C. Freedman Plaza (Central Park at East 60th Street)

'Estructuras Monumentales' by Carmen Herrera (opens July 11)

Five large-scale sculptures by Cuban-born, NYC-based artist Carmen Herrera are going up at City Hall Park this summer. The pieces, two of which were constructed in the late 1960s, are aluminum and painted in bold colors. There will be three new sculptures for this exhibit, including "Angulo Rojo" (pictured). They're meant to evoke order and tranquility using geometric and dynamic shapes.

City Hall Park (Broadway and Chambers Street)


'Bridge Over Tree' by Siah Armajani (opens Feb. 20 - Sept. 29)

This work, which artist Siah Armajani created more than 50 years ago, is a hybrid of sculpture and architecture. It's a 91-foot-long walkway with open sides and a roof with a set of stairs in the middle that go over a small evergreen tree. It's headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park in February to coincide with his retrospective at The Met Breuer.

Empire Fulton Ferry lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges

'Rose III' by Isa Genzken

Standing 26 feet tall and forged from steel, German artist Isa Genzken's "Rose III" has been installed at the northwest corner of Zuccotti Park. The rose is meant to question the flower's meaning, as a rare, luxury item in the past to a ubiquitous one today. It also serves as a reflection of the city's strength and its architecture. Genzken made a related work, "Two Orchids" (2015), which was installed in Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park.

Zuccotti Park (northwest corner)

STEAM Mural Project at P.S. 9 by Jeff Beler & Co.

Artist and longtime Prospect Heights resident Jeff Beler launched the "STEAM Mural Project" in June with dozens of artists to create 72 murals on the outer walls of the P.S. 9 elementary school. The murals include Bill Nye the Science Guy, dancers and learning-related themes. The original project started as a memorial mural in honor of 6-year-old Clara Ely, a P.S.9 student who died of brain cancer.

P.S. 9, 80 Underhill Ave., Brooklyn

New Bush Terminal mural by Angel Garcia

The NYCEDC, Groundswell and artist Angel Garcia are unveiled a new community mural painted by residents of Sunset Park on Sept. 7. The 188-foot by 15-foot mural, designed by Garcia, depicts themes of a working industrial waterfront, job access and waterfront access.

Take the bike path entrance off 50th Street and First Avenue

Marshmello mural by Gemma Gené

Artist Gemma Gené and the EDM festival Electric Zoo unveiled a new mural on the Lower East Side for artist Marshmello, one of the headliners for the show, on Aug. 31.

323 Broome St. (near Chrystie Street)

Street Artists of The World Trade Center

This isn't 5 Pointz, this is lower Manhattan. Nearly 50 artists from New York City have colored the walls outside 2 and 3 WTC and the Oculus with their vibrant work as part of a project kicked off by Silverstein Properties and the Port Authority. Artists include Ben Angotti, JC Carr, Chris Chillemi, Thomas Dowling, Todd Gray, Stickymonger, Dylon Thomas Burns, Jeremy Gooden, Aj Lavilla, Savior Elmundo and Dragon. (From left: Chinòn Maria, Lynne Yun, Stickymonger and another Chinòn Maria)

3 World Trade Center (175 Greenwich St.)

'The Many Faces and Personalities of New York' by Victor Garcia

Pop artist Victor Garcia painted Harlem's essence on the facade of the East River Plaza garage, using faces, symbols and sayings that come from the community and from the city as a whole. The mural is the first of an art series to be featured at East River Plaza.

East River Plaza in Harlem (520 E 117th St.)

Michael Jackson mural

A five-story mural of Michael Jackson painted by the Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra popped up on the side of an East 11th Street building at the beginning of August. The right half of the mural is of Jackson as a young boy, the left side is him as an adult with each face colored by a rainbow of diamonds. The artist, who grew up poor in São Paulo, has painted more than 500 murals in Brazil and 17 other countries. His work (Albert Einstein, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and more) can be found throughout New York City. Check his Instagram account to find out where.

Lower East Side at 11th Street and First Avenue

'ON CANAL: A District for New Ideas'

For one year, 20 otherwise empty storefronts on Canal Street, between West Broadway and Broadway, will host experiential art and kinetic installations, including virtual reality and LED "video paintings," which will change monthly. ("New Talismans + MND//BDY" at 325 Canal St. is pictured.) The works, curated by Wallplay (a platform that creates programs for previously vacant retail spaces) and Vibes Studios, will cover a range of topics and genres from fashion to wellness, as well as music, dance and even cryptocurrencies and alternative uses of blockchain.

'Saecula Saeculorum'

A new steel plinth and sculpture was unveiled on Roosevelt Island's art trail -- a new project aimed at making Roosevelt Island an art island. The 6-foot-tall carbon-steel column, inspired by the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square, currently holds a piece by Long Island City artist Michael Poast, "Saecula Saeculorum," which means "Without End" in Latin. Over time, it will transform from its light color to a deep maroon, according to Poast.

Good Shepherd Plaza, Roosevelt Island (543 Main St.)


A huge statue of a Dalmatian the height of a three-story building is now balancing a real taxi cab on its nose in front of what will be NYU Langone's new Hassenfeld Children's Hospital. At 38 feet tall, "Spot," a female puppy, was constructed with fiberglass and steel beams by artist Donald Lipski.

NYU Langone Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Pavilion at 34th Street and First Avenue.

Banksy mural

Banksy unveiled a new mural that protests the imprisonment of Zehra Dogan, a Turkish artist and journalist. Dogan was sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison in March 2017 after she published a painting of a Turkish city that was damaged in 2015 by fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants. Banksy's 70-foot-long mural has black hash marks for every day Dogan has spent in prison and a rendering of Dogan behind a prison cell, holding one of the bars that is also a pencil.

The corner of Houston Street and Bowery

'I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door' (through March 2019)

Three colorful Statues of Liberty stand as a symbol of the openness of New York City and the United States to those who are seeking freedom or asylum. The colorful statues, by artist Dorothy Iannone, are inspired by Emma Lazarus' poem, "The New Colossus."

The Highline (at 22nd Street)

'Large Pumpkin'

A large, carved bronze pumpkin, created in 2014 by Yayoi Kusama, sits outside Sky, a luxury high-rise building. Another smaller pumpkin, made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic and urethane paint, sits on the building's fitness entrance side of the building. It also has two "Infinity Net" paintings in the lobby. Kusama has created several of these paintings, which depict minutely drawn nets across monochromatic backgrounds. The works will be there indefinitely.

Sky (605 W. 42nd St.)

'Absent Monuments' (through June 30)

These mirrored obelisks by Rose DeSiano reflect the viewer, making them become part of the history (colonization, war, abolitionism, immigration and rural urbanization) of Jamaica, Queens. The obelisks' stone plinths have blue and white Dutch Delft photographic tiles that show the history of the park and are surrounded by floral tiles inspired by Native American patterns. Up through June 2019.

Rufus King Park (150-29 Jamaica Ave.)

'Islands of the Unisphere' (through July 10)

Taking the shapes of islands on the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Zaq Landsberg will form a "global archipelago" on the green leading up to the globe. They'll be used as seating, stages and meeting places -- with the purpose of reflecting the diversity of Queens. Up through July 2019.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Grand Central Parkway to Van Wyck Expressway, between Roosevelt Avenue and Robinson Parkway)

Adorn Me (through Aug. 17)

Artist Tanda Francis wants her sculpture in Fort Greene Park to provide a healing message in light of recent debates over city monuments by showing the powerful force of beauty and cultural relevance in African sculpture. Up through August 2019.

Fort Greene Park (Myrtle and DeKalb avenues, between Washington Park and St. Edward's Street)

'I’m So Happy You’re Here' (through July 19)

Patterned like a traditional parquet floor for the wealthy, this installation re-contextualizes the panels in a public mural. Doing this is supposed to challenge the ideas of "value," "accessibility" "destination" and "origin," according to the artist, Cara Lynch. On through July 2019.

Virginia Park (White Plains Road, between Cross Bronx Expressway and Westchester Avenue)