This summer New Yorkers and visitors strolling through the Flatiron District are being asked to respond to the prompt “Art is…” by writing their thoughts and feelings — in words and images — about what art in chalk on a public art installation. The response has been overwhelming, with passersby filling the installation’s two boxes with chalk messages every Thursday evening.
The installation, created by the School of Visual Arts’ professor and artist Stephen Gaffney, is up on Thursday evenings from 4PM to 7PM (from June 22 through July 20) on the Flatiron North Public Plaza at Broadway and 23rd Street during the Flatiron NoMad Partnership‘s “Salsa Nights” featuring live music by the Benny Lopez Latin Jazz Ensemble. The installation, music, and dancing are part of the Flatiron NoMad Partnership’s summer series of free public programming on the Plazas.
“Throughout 32 years of teaching at the School of Visual Arts Division of Continuing Education, I often meet my students at Madison Square Park in Flatiron to draw and enjoy the merging of nature and the city,” said Stephen Gaffney, School of Visual Arts professor and artist. “I am thrilled to have been invited to participate in the ‘Art Is..’ project. The inspiration for the design of our interactive chalk wall art boxes stems from the icons of the area and my love of transforming space and form. I am excited at the prospect of my design prompting the community to interact with the space created by these art boxes. What a terrific privilege to be able to be a small part of enriching the lives of New Yorkers and visitors at the Flatiron Plaza.”
“We are tremendously excited to be working with the Flatiron NoMad Partnership again,” said Stephanie McGovern, Operations Manager for The School of Visual Arts. “It’s such a unique and energizing experience to bring a public artwork to the Flatiron Plaza. Our participation this summer in the Salsa Nights will allow us to build a deeper connection with our neighbors through the joys of artmaking. As the cornerstone of our program is community engagement, we strive to offer artists a platform to not only connect with other create seekers, but to express themselves, build new skills and showcase their work. We look forward to bringing an art piece that will draw the public into the Flatiron Plaza and invite them to consider the role art plays in community building.”
“The Small Box art experience has been a wonderful complement to our summer salsa nights,” said Claudia Rincon, Event and Program Manager for the Flatiron NoMad Partnership. “It works like a magnet attracting event goers and passers-by to express themselves with the prompt “Art is…”. Many attendees have participated by drawing and writing on the box with the provided chalk, including in many different languages, which makes it all the more welcoming. Artist Stephen Gaffney references elements of the Flatiron and Nomad neighborhoods and it makes people curious to learn more about the district and its history. Working with the School of Visual Arts’ Department of Continuing Education (SVACE) has been a pleasure. They brought our vision to life in a creative and interesting execution to make our event unique, welcoming, and accessible.”
Two weeks left! July 13th and 20th.