Immerse Yourself in Art Around New York City With This Guide to Its Public Installations

"We encourage New Yorkers and those in the surrounding communities to take advantage of the many free, public art offerings that are located in their own backyard.”

Art installation in Queens' Socrates Sculpture Park
"Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House" by Jeffrey Gibson in Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, NYC. . Photo: Courtesy of NYC & Company

Museums may be closed in New York City, but art is never far away when you're walking around the Big Apple — even when practicing social distance.

And NYC & Company, the city’s destination marketing organization, is making the search for some outdoor art even easier by highlighting the dozens of free public art programs throughout the five boroughs welcoming New Yorkers (and anyone who may be safely visiting) to take in a little culture while traversing the area. The group’s “All In NYC: Public Art Edition” database showcases installations currently on display as well as upcoming ones.

“As New York City gradually emerges from the Covid-19 shutdown and more businesses begin to safely reopen, we encourage New Yorkers and those in the surrounding communities to take advantage of the many free, public art offerings that are located in their own backyard,” Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company, said in a statement. “We know how vital art is, not just to our city, but to those who will eventually return from around the globe to see our world-class cultural institutions.”

The guide lists 37 locations to explore.

Spend some time pondering a collage of New York City landmarks mixed with photographs of more than 1,000 subjects as part of “The Chronicles of New York City by JR” put on by the Brooklyn Museum, or immerse yourself in a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement with a project wrapped around the Museum Mile Building and installed by the Africa Center.

Later, head to Queens where you can walk among colorful masterpieces in the Socrates Sculpture Park. The Monuments Now exhibit — on display until March 2021 — highlights “underrepresented histories and marginalized peoples,” and currently features commissions by Jeffrey Gibson.

And by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Jill Mulleady’s mural “We Wither Time into a Coil of Fright” stands for all to see, underscoring a sense of “modern-day life being both hyperconnected and isolating.”

“I am honored to join my colleagues at dozens of New York cultural institutions and organizations who are coming together, at one of the most important moments in our city’s history, to bring the healing power of art to all New Yorkers,” Adam Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art and a member of The Coalition for NYC Hospitality & Tourism Recovery, said in a statement. “From the Black Lives Matter murals painted on iconic city streets, to David Hammons’ Days End installation on the Hudson River waterfront, art knows no boundaries.”

This isn’t the first art project NYC & Company has taken on. The company has also partnered with the Public Art Fund to create a citywide exhibition this summer, displaying work from more than 50 emerging artists.

Art lovers can also get their fix of the city’s museums with free drawing lessons from the Metropolitan Museum of Art or take an immersive virtual tour.

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