Volume 23, Number 11 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 21 - 27, 2010

Water Movements, by Lordy Rodriguez, at Titanic Park near the South Street Seaport.

Turning construction sites into works of art

Lower Manhattan is arguably home to the largest construction effort in the country. Everywhere one looks, there is a building being re-built or newly constructed, with fences and plywood walls surrounding the sites and sometimes even entire city blocks.

But since 2007 the Downtown Alliance, with funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, has turned these unsightly walls into works of art.

Construction is a public art project that seeks to intervene and “create a cheerful and welcoming environment in the midst of urban renewal,” said Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger, in a statement.

“The volume of this work is a long-term blessing that can often seem like a short-term nightmare,” noted Berger.

Since the program began, roughly 14 construction sites have benefited from temporary murals and other art installations. The newest site is Titanic Park, located at the entrance to the South Street Seaport Marketplace, which is undergoing a $1 million renovation and is set to reopen in the fall.

Lordy Rodriguez’s piece, “Water Movements,” uses map-like illustrations to form valleys and mountains as a continuous river twists and turns throughout.

“Sometimes water is still and quiet like a frozen pond, and other times it’s so ferocious whole towns can be swept away,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Water is as influential to its environment as it is influenced by it.”

— John Bayles

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