NEW YORK, NY.- The Art Students League of New York
,one of America's premier art schools, announces the Model to Monument Program (M2M), a collaboration with the New York City Department Parks & Recreation that will culminate in the installation of eight monumental sculptures in New York this coming June.
"We're very proud of this program that takes League artists through the entire process of creating public art for people to contemplate and enjoy," says Ira Goldberg, Executive Director of The Art Students League of New York. "We are delighted to partner with the Parks Department, which is providing the ideal platform to show these powerful examples of public art."
The sculptures are being created by an international team of seven selected League students during a nine-month program led by master sculptor Greg Wyatt. The pieces range from abstractions conjuring New York City's past and future, to a life-size bronze of a girl and her dog looking out on the Hudson River. Seven sculptures, one by each artist, will be on view along the river from 59th to 72nd Streets. A collaborative sculpture created by the team is also in development. The individual works will be unveiled in June, and will be on view in Riverside Park South for one year.
The installations mark the inauguration of a five-year partnership between the League and the Parks Department to create public art for city parks. While sculptures by more than 20 League-affiliated artists already grace New York City public spaces, this is the first time the 135-year-old League has ventured into a partnership project of this scale.
The sculptors are Elizabeth Allison, Selva Sanjines, John Balsamo, Noa Shay, Allston Chapman, Matthew White, and Akihiro Ito.
"M2M is a signature program for the League that highlights our mission to teach artists the craft, technique and the collaborative aspect of creating a public work of art. Professional development is an essential part of the League's programming." says Mr. Goldberg.
Mr. Wyatt, the sculptor-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, is teaching the sculptors how to nurture an artistic idea from conception to reality, including design, engineering and requirements of a public sculpture, as well as creation time, material, labor, cost, collaboration with City requirements, and how to produce and install the finished site-specific works. Participating artists receive a stipend to support their work efforts.
"With their wide and picturesque waterfront vistas, the piers and walkways of Riverside South have inspired talented artists of the Art Students League of New York who reference the park's history, infrastructure, and unique environment," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "This public art exhibition, the first in a growing partnership with the Art Students League of New York, will be a welcome addition to the diverse Riverside South programming enjoyed by countless park visitors."
Riverside Park is home to a number of permanent statues, monuments and historic structures, including the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Grant's Tomb National Monument, and statues or memorials of Joan of Arc, Ralph Ellison, Eleanor Roosevelt and many more.
One of the objectives is to provide a professional context for the sculptors with a project that has a set beginning, middle and end goal that forwards with their professional development. After having worked on a public piece for the City, the students will be better prepared to obtain their own public art commission.
"In M2M, we are going beyond a straight studio practice and actually connecting the artists with the rigors of creating public works," says Mr. Wyatt. "We are also grateful to Modern Art Foundry for their bronze casting services and expertise. These works will receive public reaction, contact, praise, criticism and outdoor weather for one year. That we have the amazing landscape of the public parks and traffic in which to present them is a great gift."
The League has a 135-year old legacy of training some of the world's most renowned artists, with alumni including Georgia O'Keefe, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas Eakins, and Alexander Calder. Working in an atelier-workshop model, the League is open to artists of all levels who wish to learn and practice the language of visual art.