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City Canvas art program aims to beautify construction fences, sidewalk sheds

Nonprofits are invited to propose installations.

The city will consider proposals for art displays

The city will consider proposals for art displays on construction fences and sidewalk sheds. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Some of the city’s biggest eyesores will be transformed into colorful artscapes under a pilot project announced Wednesday.

The program, titled City Canvas, uses construction fences and sidewalk sheds as large-scale art installation sites.

“New York City is one of the most vibrant built environments in the world, and City Canvas is a great opportunity to let some of the artists working in our neighborhoods help to enliven and enhance our public spaces,” Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said in a statement.

Under the 24-month pilot project, nonprofit organizations may propose one or more sites, artists and artworks to the city. Officials are looking for locally-based artists and artwork that has a connection to the surrounding community.

The selected nonprofit will pay for the cost of the installation and compensation for the artists, which will be detailed in the applications given to a panel convened by the city. The artwork must also be approved by the panel before it is installed.

New York City Construction codes bar people from posting material on these structures, but these prohibitions would be waived for any selected projects. The City Canvas pilot is limited to sidewalk sheds and construction fences that are located on or over buildings, sidewalks and streets owned by the city.

There are a few ground rules such as no political messages, advertisements or sexual content.

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 12. For more information, go to the city Department of Cultural Affairs’ website, at


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