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Fashion District unveils 4th Annual Broadway Public Art Installation by artist Xin Song
Five Elements: A Celebration of Transformation and designed by Garment District-based artist Xin Song.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Fashion Center Business Improvement District (FCBID) unveiled its 4th Annual Broadway Public Art Installation last week. The exhibit, titled Five Elements: A Celebration of Transformation and designed by Garment District-based artist Xin Song, is on display through August 30th, and is the latest in a highly-anticipated series that makes its home each summer on Broadway’s pedestrian plazas.

“The Garment District has experienced a dramatic transformation in recent years into a vibrant neighborhood with everything from incredible restaurants to a world-class arts scene,” said Barbara Blair Randall, president of the Fashion Center BID. “Five Elements is a wonderful continuation of our annual public art series, which has come to symbolize the new spirit of this authentically-New York neighborhood.”

For each of five city blocks along Broadway from 36th to 41st streets, there is a framed art fixture, approximately eight feet in height, installed to represent each of Song’s Five Elements. On one side, the images are cut from current, site-specific photographs of the neighborhood using a variety of traditional Chinese papercut techniques and laminated onto tempered glass. The other side of the images are cut from solid black paper, creating a silhouette reminiscent of the wrought iron filigree elements found in historic New York City architecture. The configuration of the papercut photographs form a new image that represents its Element.

“The Fashion District brings innovative designs to runways and now it's leading the way with vibrant art on walkways for everyone to enjoy,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Temporary art transforms these public spaces into colorful, inviting, memorable places.”

According to Song, the individual pieces of the Five Elements installation are inspired by the theoretical Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth elements, used in a variety of fields from medicine to feng shui. Together, the work is an exploration of environmental and personal transformations in our shared City surroundings. Each of the five intricately-patterned papercuts reflect the color and symbolism of an element. The fixtures are enhanced by corresponding elemental imagery painted in circular patterns on the plaza pavement.

“Five Elements recognizes how the convergence of a community’s diverse cultures and shared history shape its distinct yet ever-evolving character,” explained artist Xin Song. “This installation reflects that notion and provide onlookers with a new awareness of their surroundings.”

Born and educated in China, Xin Song now lives in Brooklyn and creates her work from her studio at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, located in the Garment District. Among her recent works, Song created a large-scale work in 2012 for the Bay Parkway Landmark Station in Brooklyn as part of the MTA Permanent Arts for Transit program, which was highlighted on the PBS program, Treasures of New York.

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