New York City is known for its art scene. Usually when people say this, however, they are talking about the art that is found in the various museums and galleries, and the trends that are set there by artists, curators, and critics. But there's more to it than that. There are art works in this city that people pass by every day on their way to work, to school, to the grocery store--art works that are nestled into protected coves of park bushes, and art works that are prominently displayed on the sidewalks in front of corporate headquarters; art works that date from the years after the civil war, and art works that will appear in a small public plaza for only six months. In fact, when you start to pay attention, you realize that there are pieces of art, large and small, all over the city. It is easy to ignore these pieces, or to take them for granted. But there is so much to be gained from stopping for a moment to appreciate their presence.

This website has developed out of a program that I am in the process of designing for the Heritage School, a public high school in East Harlem. The Heritage-School program involves a series of field trips to various public art sites in the city. Each trip will be organized around a topic of discussion, and after each trip students will be expected to respond to the discussions in personal web-journals.

In designing the curriculum for this program, I have done research about individual art works, and about themes that often emerge when talking about public art. That information is what is on this website. It is organized so that other teachers can pick and choose that which is of interest to them and their students. I have also provided a bibliography and list of online resourses for anyone who wishes to research further. My intention is to provide other teachers with some background about the public art that is found in the city so that they can use it with their students without having to repeat the preliminary research that I have already done.

New York City's public art can be a wonderful teaching resource. There is no admission fee to see these works of art. In addition, the works are accessible to students in a way that works in a museum might not be, since they are present in a students' immediate world--no pristine walls, no watchful guards, no need to speak in whispers. Hopefully this website will help teachers take advantage of the city's environment as a teaching tool.

There are hundreds of works of public art in New York. I have started with just a few pieces, all in Manhattan, with the intention of creating cohesive discussion possibilities. As the project progresses, I hope to include more works.



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