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.

DUMBO street art

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dumbo BID

The DUMBO Improvement District, the city's Department of Transportation's Art Program and NYC Parks' Art in the Parks Program teamed up to add four new public artworks to the neighborhood this spring.

Craig Anthony Miller (CAM)'s "Massive Stampede" mural (pictured) on Adams Street between York and Prospect streets

"Field's Jax Sculptures" by Fitzhugh Karol Emily Caisip's "Moment of Gratitude" on Front Street between Pearl and Adams Street

Andy Lin's "Self Portrait Project" within Empire Stores.

See a full list of street art in DUMBO here.

Robert Indiana’s iconic "LOVE" series

Photo Credit: Robert Indiana / Kasmin Sculpture Garden

Robert Indiana's "Love" series -- sculptures spelling out the word in three languages (English, Spanish and Hebrew) -- is sitting in the Kasmin Sculpture Garden, which is on top of the gallery's roof and viewable from The High Line at 27th Street.

(509 W. 27th St., Chelsea)

'You Are Not Alone' murals for Mental Health Awareness Month

Photo Credit: Dirty Bandits (@dirtybandits) / Graham Burns

The "You Are Not Alone" murals project has launched in three Brooklyn locations for Mental Health Awareness Month in May. The murals have broad appeal and offer support to anyone who feels misunderstood, victimized, or abandoned.

Mural 1 (pictured): Brooklyn Dirty Bandits (@dirtybandits) at 402 McGuiness Blvd., Greenpoint

Mural 2: Adam Fu (@adamfu) and Dirty Bandits at 75 Scott Ave., Bushwick

Mural 3: Jason Naylor (@jasonnaylor) at 109 Wilson Ave., Bushwick


'All Power to All People'

Photo Credit: The Africa Center and Kindred Arts

A 25-foot tall stylized representation of the iconic afro pick by Hank Willis Thomas, Marsha Reid and Jeff Schomberg sits outside the Africa Center. It is representative of an era, a sound and a counterculture and is seen as a uniting motif, worn as adornment, a political emblem, and signature of collective identity.

(1280 Fifth Ave., East Harlem)

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center (through June 28)

Photo Credit: Timothy Schenck/Frieze

For the first time, Rockefeller Center is showcasing 20 sculptures from 14 artists on its plaza, including Nick Cave, Jose Dávila, Walter De Maria, Rochelle Goldberg, Joan Miró, Paulo Nazareth, Pedro Reyes, Kiki Smith, Sarah Sze, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others. Pictured is "Behind the Walls" by Jaume Plensa -- a 30-foot-tall human head with hands covering its eyes.

(Rockefeller Plaza, Channel Gardens, the Rink, North Plaza and South Esplanade, between 49th and 50th streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues, midtown)

Audubon Mural Project with Peter Daverington

Photo Credit: Peter Daverington

The Audubon Mural Project, which has dozens of bird murals in Manhattan, is expanding to Halletts Point in Queens with two American Black Ducks by Peter Daverington. The mural stands 15 feet tall and is 175 feet long. These ducks are native to the East River and are a climate-endangered bird species. The paintings of the birds are only 6 feet above water level and are best seen from across the water on the Upper East Side.

(10 Halletts Point, Long Island City, Queens)

'Chronos Cosmos: Deep Time, Open Space' (May 5 - Sept. 3)

Photo Credit: Miya Ando, Socrates Sculpture Park, Image by Johnny LeMiya Ando

The Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City is showcasing artwork that calls on the cosmos, from Miya Andos' "Ginga (Silver River)" print of the Milky Way on a waving translucent textile, pictured, to Beatriz Cortez's "Tzolk'in," a steel work inspired and named after the Mayan calendar, among others. The collection includes works by Radcliffe Bailey, Alicja Kwade, Eduardo Navarro, Heidi Neilson, and Oscar Santillán with new commissions by William Lamson, and (MDR) Maria D. Rapicavoli.

(32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City)

'Elle Pérez: from sun to sun' (Aug. 12 - Nov. 24)

Photo Credit: Elle Pérez

Starting in August, a series of photos by Elle Pérez will be posted on city bus shelters that portray life, identity and heritage among Puerto Rican communities in the Bronx and in the expanded Latinx diaspora. Each photo is meant to reveal intimate, everyday moments that New Yorkers will be able to connect with. Pérez will create a new series of photographs for the exhibition that explores specific locations with personal relevance to her, including from Fordham Road and Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.

'Subliminal Standard' (through March 1, 2020)

Photo Credit: Harold Ancart

As his first U.S. public art commission, artist Harold Ancart is constructing a large, playable, two-sided handball court and paint an abstract mural on it at Downtown Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza Park. It will be open and free for all to play during its 10-month run.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards

Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

It's quite a spectacle to look at from afar and is a marvel to climb, too. The Vessel, the steel colossus that rises from the center of Hudson Yards, has 2,500 individual steps, 80 landings and 154 interconnecting flights of stairs that together create a mile-long vertical pathway within the public gardens. It's open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and free tickets can be obtained at

'Tilted Head' by Mark Manders (through Sept. 1)

Photo Credit: Courtesy the artist, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp and Tanya Bonakdar

"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)

Photo Credit: Carmen Herrera, Courtesy Lisson Gallery and Public Art Fund

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 (through Sept. 29)

Photo Credit: Siah Armajani

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

Photo Credit: Timothy Schenck, Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York

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.

Photo Credit: Lois Stavsky

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

Photo Credit: NYCEDC / Groundswell / 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

Street Artists of The World Trade Center

Photo Credit: Silverstein Properties / The Port Authority

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

Photo Credit: Nicole Pereira

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

Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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'

Photo Credit: ON CANAL

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'

Photo Credit: Shaye Weaver

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.)


Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

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

Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

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)

Photo Credit: Timothy Schenck 2017

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'

Photo Credit: Sky

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)

Photo Credit: Rose DeSiano

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)

Photo Credit: Zaq Landsberg

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)

Photo Credit: Tanda Francis

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)

Photo Credit: Cara Lynch

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)