New York City is searching for four talented artists to help it battle health disparities and ageism, tackle climate change and celebrate its history.
They will be part of the Public Artists in Residence program, which places artists in city agencies for a year to conduct research and then develop a project to assist in its mission.
“Since launching PAIR, we’ve watched artists working across disciplines develop new ways to address old problems,” city Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said in a statement.
“With these four new Public Artist in Residency positions, we’re inviting artists to work alongside city workers and constituents…and collaborate on creative, innovative approaches to public service,” he added.
Artists have until Feb. 24 to make a detailed proposal on how they would work with one of the agencies. Recipients will receive $40,000 as both a fee and funding for their projects.
Previous artists include Tania Bruguera, who worked with the Office of Immigrant Affairs to create better connections and trust between city government and the immigrant community. Her “Cycle News” project created a fact sheet of city services for immigrants that was distributed via bicycle around the Corona, Queens, neighborhood by Mujeres en Movimiento, a group of local artists and activists.
Ebony Golden, an artist and cultural consultant, was paired with the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence where she trained staff on different ways to work with victims.
“We talked about using more creative strategies to address a hard issue,” she said, regarding intimate partner violence. “You don’t want people to feel like every time this comes up it’s going to be a conversation that tears them down. We want them to be hopeful.”
Since the program started in 2015, it has placed 10 artists and collectives into nine residencies at city agencies.
This year’s opportunities include residencies at the Department for the Aging, Department of Health, Department of Records, and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
Pauline Toole, commissioner for the Department of Records, said she is interested in seeing how an artist might approach the large and diverse collection of historic maps, documents and other materials in the city’s archives.
She pointed to the 17th century Dutch collections, fragile documents that provide a deep look into life in what was then known as New Amsterdam.
“We have been talking about engaging more New Yorkers and helping them know what we have,” said Toole. “I think an artist could go through the records, learn the story and determine how to conceptualize that …these are our earliest records and they are foundational to the city of New York.”
For more information on the PAIR program and how to apply, go to nyc.gov/culture.