NYC DOT Seeking Artists to Create Five Public Artworks Across the Five Boroughs


NYC DOT Art Program, Community Commissions 2017, ‘Common Demoninator’ by Anthony Heinz May. Courtesy of the NYC DOT.

In a bid to infuse the city with creativity and community engagement, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has announced a call for artists to design temporary public art works across the five boroughs.

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez unveiled the initiative, dubbed Community Commissions: Artists Request for Proposals (RFP), as a collaborative effort between the agency and local community-based organizations. The selected artists will have the opportunity to create and install temporary art pieces on NYC DOT infrastructure, including sidewalks, medians, and triangles.

“Public art inspires New Yorkers and beautifies our streetscape, and there’s no better way to amplify and support the mission of these local organizations than collaborating to make our public spaces more vibrant,” said NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We encourage all local artists to apply for this unique funding opportunity to produce artwork in their neighborhoods.”

The RFP, open until June 30, 2024, at 11:59 p.m., invites artists to submit proposals for site-responsive artworks. Selected artists will receive up to $20,000 for production costs and other project-related expenses.

NYC DOT has partnered with community-based organizations to facilitate the development of these artworks. These organizations will play integral roles in various project phases, including artist selection, design evolution, community engagement, fabrication, installation, and maintenance.

The designated sites for the artworks span each borough, including the Bronx’s sidewalk at Grand Concourse and East Fordham Road in partnership with Concourse House, Home for Women and Their Children; Brooklyn’s pedestrian space at Washington Avenue and Empire Boulevard in collaboration with I AM Caribbeing; Manhattan’s sidewalk median at Lenox Avenue and 124th Street, partnered with West Harlem Art Fund; Queens’ Diversity Plaza at Roosevelt Avenue and Broadway, partnering with the Rubin Museum of Art; and Staten Island’s Corson Avenue and Victory Boulevard, in collaboration with On Your Mark.

Community Commissions, aims to bring new art onto the streets through collaborations with local organizations. After selecting five organizations and sites across the boroughs, NYC DOT opened an open call for artists to submit proposals for artworks in those locations. Criteria for selecting partner organizations included their capacity to engage in such projects and alignment with the program’s mission. The goal is to bolster community programs and enliven public spaces while reflecting the neighborhoods’ cultural significance.

The program aims to foster enriching pedestrian experiences and draw attention to the missions of partner organizations. NYC DOT emphasizes the importance of connecting artists with organizations to ensure a meaningful reflection of each borough’s identity in the artworks.

NYC DOT Art will display the selected artworks for up to 11 months at the designated community sites, aiming to enrich pedestrian experiences and highlight the cultural significance of each neighborhood.

NYC DOT Art, Community Commissions 2017, ‘Exquisite Corpse’ by Fanny Allié. Courtesy of the NYC DOT.

To provide further insights into the RFP process, NYC DOT Art will host a webinar on June 5, 2024, at 12 p.m. The webinar will cover details about the open call for artists, introduce partner organizations, discuss installation sites, and review the application process.

The Community Commissions initiative underscores NYC DOT’s commitment to fostering cultural vibrancy and community pride through public art. For more information about the program and how to participate, visit and @nyc_DOTArt.

Representatives from partner organizations expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, emphasizing the potential for these artworks to reflect and enrich local communities.

“The Rubin is excited to partner with NYC DOT Art and an artist to create public artwork in Jackson Heights,” said Jorrit Britschgi, executive director of the Rubin Museum. “As we explore innovative ways to share art outside our walls, this is an important opportunity to make art more accessible and celebrate the rich culture of this diverse neighborhood.”

“I AM Caribbeing is thrilled and grateful to partner with NYC DOT for Community Commissions,” said Shelley V. Worrell, founder and cultural entrepreneur at I AM Caribbeing. “This vibrant art installation will be located adjacent to Caribbean-American communities, small businesses, and culturally iconic landmarks, showcasing the rich heritage and diversity of the area. This collaborative effort will not only beautify the area but also foster community pride, cultural exchange, and economic growth.”

As the deadline for artist submissions approaches, NYC DOT anticipates a diverse array of proposals that will contribute to the cultural fabric of New York City’s neighborhoods. With art as a vehicle for connection and expression, the city looks forward to welcoming these temporary installations as vibrant additions to its public spaces.