Arts & Culture

You could get up to $12,000 to build a large-scale sculpture in Coney Island

Make a splash, like John Ahearn's large-scale sculpture for Coney Art Walls 2016. via website
Make a splash by the boardwalk, like John Ahearn’s sculpture did for Coney Art Walls 2016. via website

Feeling artless these days? You’re not alone — plenty of artists are struggling to pick themselves back up after Trump, Oakland, the tragedy of Aleppo… makes it hard to see why anything is worth anything. But art is important in times like these, and a talented young gun like yourself shouldn’t hold out when opportunities come up to showcase your particular aptitude for creative response.

Lucky for you, opportunity knocks: The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) has an arts initiative, called DOT Art, that commissions artists to produce “temporary site-responsive art in collaboration with community-based organizations,” and they’re currently seeking proposals for good ol’ Coney Island USA. If selected, your sculpture-to-be will get to sit at W. 10th St and Boardwalk for up to 11 months (through beach season!), and you can get up to $12,000 to fund the project!

The request for proposals is part of DOT Art’s Community Commissions Program, which focuses especially on those spaces that are “in need of beautification.” The stretch of W. 10th St. and Boardwalk certainly falls under that category; it’s right around the corner from the Cyclone, but there isn’t much along that strip of road north of the roller coaster. It’s mostly an area people pass through on their way to Luna Park. Oh ho-ho, but not anymore, because now it’ll feature the anti-Trump statue you’ve been dying to find a home for! Or just something nice that get to walk by. Either way.

TBH, the latter will probably give you a better chance of being selected, since “site-responsive” suggests that DOT Art is seeking work which specifically relates to the landscape of Coney Island and its surrounding community. Two to three artists will make it through the first round of cuts to the interview portion, after which a final winner will be selected. The $12,000 budget goes toward direct project costs, so it’s not really a commission. Still, it’s enough incentive to take some time away from your side hustle to dive into your sculpture knowing the thing’ll have Coney Island goers’ eyeballs on it all year. (Ah, the plight of the artist.)


Prospect Av. & 4th Ave got its own legal tagging as part of last year's commission.
Prospect Av. & 4th Ave got its own legal tagging as part of last year’s commission.

Assuming you’re some kind of sculpture artist if you’re still reading this, you probably have enough confidence in your medium to go ahead and apply. But these is dark times, so if you need a reminder of just how politically powerful public art can be, remember the awe-inspiring sugar sphinx by Kara Walker, or how that naked Trump statue in Union Square made our lives all a little brighter for a while, or how Tom Otterness’ Life Underground offers you a constant mid-commute reminder of just how tiny a cog you really are in THE CAPITALIST MACHINE.

Cool, cool. Ready to apply? You’ll need to send in a CV, up to four (4) sketched project ideas, photographs of past projects and the completed PDF application form, which includes basic logistical questions about your proposed piece. Do us a favor and pitch a naked Mike Pence sculpture. You can call it “Pence-less America.”

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