Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) is a municipal residency program that embeds artists in city government to propose and implement creative solutions to pressing civic challenges. Launched in the fall of 2015, PAIR takes its inspiration and its name from the pioneering work of artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, the first official (unsalaried)artist-in-residence with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), 1977 – present.
PAIR is based on the premise that artists are creative problem-solvers. They are able to create long-term and lasting impact by working collaboratively and in open-ended processes to build community bonds, open channels for two-way dialogue, and reimagine realities to create new possibilities for those who experience and participate in the work.
Through a series of conversations, DCLA and a partner City Agency decide on a broad population, challenge, and/or goal the partner agency wishes to focus on. With Commissioner-level support, DCLA issues an open call for artists or recommends artists based on artistic excellence and demonstrated knowledge of the particular social issues addressed in the residency. The final artist selection is made in partnership with both agencies.
Each PAIR is a minimum of one year. The residency begins with a research phase, during which the artist spends time at the agency meeting staff and learning about its operations and initiatives while also introducing their art practice and process to agency staff. The research phase concludes with a proposal from the artist outlining one or more public-facing participatory projects that will be implemented in partnership with the agency. Artists receive a fee, as well as in-kind resources such as desk space with the partner agency, an access to DCLA’s Materials for the Arts.
The PAIR program is made possible by funds from the City of New York with additional support provided by private philanthropy. DCLA and its City partners are grateful for the private support for select residencies provided by The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, the David Rockefeller Fund, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Artist Taja Lindley in residence with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH): Taja Lindley is an artist, healer, and activist based in New York City. Through iterative and interdisciplinary practices, she creates socially engaged artwork that transforms audiences, shifts culture, and moves people to action. She uses movement, text, installation, ritual, burlesque, and multi-media to create immersive works that are concerned with freedom, healing, and pleasure. Her performances, films, and installations have been featured at Brooklyn Museum; La Mama Theater; New York Live Arts; the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University; the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Carver Museum in Austin, Texas; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California; and more. She is the founder of Colored Girls Hustle and a member of Echoing Ida and Harriet’s Apothecary. In addition to being an artist, Lindley is actively engaged in social movements as a writer, consultant, and facilitator. Most recently, she served as a Sexual and Reproductive Justice Consultant at DOHMH, facilitating a community-driven process that created The New York City Standards for Respectful Care at Birth.
As a PAIR at DOHMH’s Center for Health Equity, Lindley will use community engagement strategies that deepen the collective understanding of how racism and gender oppression affect birth outcomes. Working out of the Tremont Neighborhood Health Action Center, she will start by exploring how the voices of pregnant and parenting Black people in the Bronx can advance reproductive justice and inform changes in medical practices and government policies.
Artist Laura Nova in residence with the Department for the Aging (DFTA): Artist, athlete, and activator Laura Nova generates site-specific action-oriented projects which invite participatory energies of neighbors and strangers alike, particularly within the urban landscapes of older adult and migrant communities. She uses cardio, comedy and cooking to create activ/ist audiences who, in turn, reveal and preserve stories of both people and places. Recent commissions have included multi-year social engagement projects such as Silver Sirens, an older adult cheerleading squad championing healthcare, gender equity, and anti-ageism; and Moving Stories, a senior-led storytelling and walking tour. Nova has shown her work at national and international venues, including the New Museum's IdeasCity Festival, the River To River Festival, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Real Art Ways, Substation Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa and the National Arts Center in Tokyo, Japan. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Arts and Technology at Bloomfield College.
Nova’s PAIR collaboration with DFTA will deepen the City’s understanding of ageism and its impact on older New Yorkers. She will challenge societal misconceptions around age and discrimination embedded in language, social practices, policies, and institutions. Her creative solutions will help DFTA further its mission of eliminating ageism and ensuring the dignity and quality of life of NYC’s diverse older adults.
Artist Julia Weist in residence with the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS): Since pursuing her MLIS degree, New York-based artist Julia Weist’s artistic practice has centered around archives, collections and information resources. She uses them to explore the relationship between media production and cultural context, and to understand how the velocity of information originates in its accessibility. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Queens Museum (New York City), the Hong-Gah Museum (Taipei), Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) and Rhizome, the New Museum (New York City). Through her work with many cultural institutions on ambitious archival projects, Weist attempts to transform impenetrable data sets into discovery tools capable of offering paths for exploration rather than fixed sets of stories.
During her residency, Weist will work primarily with DORIS’s colonial collection, which offers a detailed account of everyday life in New Amsterdam but can be intimidating as a resource. Through study and interpretation of the collection, she will create a unique experience for a wider audience that helps emphasize the role of the historical record in modern discourse and community engagement. She will also explore how an artist might help develop the Colonial records to better represent the perspectives of the indigenous and enslaved populations of the period.
Artist Janet Zweig in residence with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS): Janet Zweig is a New York based artist working primarily in the public realm. Nature and sustainability have played a critical part in her recent projects. These include working with a San Diego climate scientist to create a kinetic sculpture at a new library that visualizes climate change data and the vanishing of natural resources in a direct way for the community. She also worked with engineers to create a large-scale installation on the Sacramento River that orients viewers to drought and flood conditions. Her public works are installed around the country, and her sculpture and books have been shown widely. A Rome Prize recipient, she teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design.
In all of Zweig’s work, she attempts to speak to viewers both as communities and as individuals, sometimes tapping into their talents and energy to develop content. During her residency she will use these and other art strategies to support MOS’s efforts to convey to New Yorkers how they, personally and collectively, can make a positive difference in issues around sustainability. She hopes to use the opportunity to reach New Yorkers in a way that empowers them to drive change on a local level and understand the collective impact of their actions on a global level.
Rachel Barnard + Department of Probation (DOP)
Rachel Barnard is a social practice artist formally trained as an architect. In 2012 she founded Young New Yorkers (YNY), an arts diversion program for teens being prosecuted as adult in criminal court. To date over 600 young people have been sentenced to make art at YNY instead of jail or other adult sanctions. Most participants have had their adult criminal cases dismissed and sealed. Barnard’s art practice brings large groups of people together from diverse, and oftentimes adversarial, communities to create new spaces of belonging. She will work with DOP to build trust, strengthen relationships, and improve communication and engagement between probation officers and the people under their supervision. DOP also wants to find ways to overcome the stigma of justice system involvement, which can damage their constituents’ relationships with family and community while also posing barriers to opportunities such as employment and housing.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh + NYC Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is a Brooklyn-based street artist and painter. Her project Stop Telling Women to Smile is a street art series that tackles gender-based street harassment around the world; her work can be found on walls from New York to Paris, Los Angeles to Mexico City, and more, amassing international attention for tackling violence against women in public spaces. In 2014, film director Spike Lee asked Tatyana to be the Art Consultant for the TV adaptation of his first movie She’s Gotta Have It. Tatyana created all of the paintings for the show’s main character. During her residency, Tatyana will continue to work with people facing discrimination – particularly women and girls – to educate the public on discriminatory behavior and help the agency strengthen their presence and visibility as an important resource.
Tania Bruguera + Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA)
Bruguera asks the questions: how can immigrant communities begin to trust the government and how, in turn, will the government demonstrate that it trusts immigrant communities? To address the question, Bruguera joined forces with long-time collaborators Mujeres en Movimiento -- who use tactics from art and community organizing to advocate for neighborhood improvements – as well as Kollektiv Migrantas, a participatory design collective specializing in migrant rights .Together, the group launched CycleNews, a two-way bike messenger service to communicate trusted, first-hand information between city agencies and immigrant communities.
Bryan Doerries + Department for Veterans’ Services (DVS)
Doerries is the co-founder of Theater of War Productions, which presents programs that address the enduring impact of war as well as broader community issues such as gun violence, mental health, addiction, prison reform, sexual assault and domestic violence. Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is a co-producer of the residency. The residency will combine theater and public forums that engage both veterans and civilians in community-specific performances that foster health and healing through open discussion and exchange. Between January 2017 and December 2018, the free performances will take place in more than 60 venues across New York, including public libraries, homeless shelters, public schools, and cultural organizations with each of the projects tailored to the needs of different communities.
Bryan Doerries is a Brooklyn-based writer, director, and translator. A self-described evangelist for classical literature and its relevance to our lives today, Doerries uses age-old approaches to help individuals and communities heal from trauma and loss. He is the founder of Theater of War and the co-founder and Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions, a social impact company that uses theater and a variety of other media to address pressing public health and social issues.
Onyedika Chuke + Department of Correction (Rikers Island) (DOC)
Onyedika Chuke is a New York-based American sculptor and archivist born in Onitsha, Nigeria. His largest body of work titled The Forever Museum Archive (2011-present), is a disquieting collection of objects, text and images in which Chuke analyze social, cultural and political structures. He is a graduate of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He will work with individuals on Rikers Island facing extremely challenging and traumatic circumstances to alleviate the negative impact of criminal punishment, create access to art, and open dialogue between policymakers and those in their custody.
Ebony Golden + Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV)
Ebony Noelle Golden is a South Bronx-based artist and cultural strategist who stages site-specific rituals and live art productions that profoundly explore the complexities of freedom in the time of now. Her current large-scale public performance project 125th & Freedom is in development and slated for a highly-anticipated 2019 world premiere. Ebony is also the founder of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative, a cultural consultancy and arts accelerator serving the arts & culture sector for close to a decade. Her creative work has been presented at Judson Memorial Church, National Black Theatre, Hayti Heritage Center, DC Arts Center, and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance among others. Her curatorial projects have been presented at Brooklyn Museum, New York University, Alternate Roots, and The Brecht Forum among others. She will work with OCDV to overcome challenges the agency faces in reaching particularly vulnerable communities, include those isolated by location, culture, language, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The Lost Collective + Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
Over the course of the last year, The Lost Collective joined ACS as the official Public Artists in Residence (PAIR). The Collective worked with 30 LGBTQ+ youth in five group homes across the City to create space for creative expression and creative agency. The youth delved into a range of projects, from self-portraiture, to voguing, to cooking, to martial arts, to autobiographical music videos. The PAIR artists built meaningful relationships with the youth, exposing them to artistic happenings, practices, and other artists in NYC. The residency culminated in a public exhibition of work by the youth, including performances of original music and screenings of experimental films, at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café.
The Lost Collective is a group of four artists – Keelay Gipson, Rebeca Rad, Josh Adam Ramos, and Britton Smith – who have extensive experience in New York theater as actors, directors, writers, musicians, producers, educators, and mentors. Their practice is rooted in the intersection of art and activism, and their work is focused on the voices of underrepresented populations, including people of color and the LGBTQ community. The collective mounted two productions of a play entitled The Lost in 2014 and 2015 that used spoken word poetry and hip hop/R&B music to tell a story about youths at the margins of society and their struggle to create a space for themselves.
Mary Miss + Department of Design and Construction (DDC)
In an advisory capacity, Miss worked within DDC to identify “as many routes as possible to engage artists in reimagining cities for the 21st century.” She held several public discussions and workshops with DDC staff to brainstorm entry points for artists to create temporary works throughout the design and construction process.
Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. Her installations focus on social, cultural and environmental sustainability to reveal history, ecology or aspects of sites that have gone unnoticed. In addition to the ongoing initiative BROADWAY: 1000 Steps, she recently completed a project for the Indianapolis Museum of Art focusing on a 6-mile stretch of the White River. Miss was one of four artists who developed concepts for envisioning the future of Long Island City as part of the exhibition, Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City at the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park. She has received grants from the NEA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation. In 2012 she was awarded NYC Design Commission’s Award for Excellence in Design for The Passage: A Moving Memorial on Staten Island.
Social Design Collective + Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS)
Social Design Collective (SDC) worked with DVS to foster and engage a community of women veterans, a historically underserved population. During the course of their year-long residency, SDC worked with The Harlem Vet Center to produce the first women veterans conference in New York City with over 200 participants, hosted a series of LGTBIQ-focused potlucks for veterans, and created an extensive network of veteran artist advocacy groups. Sievert led website and digital literacy classes to women veterans, and Tinsley photographed and interviewed NYC-based women veterans for her ongoing project SisterVet: Stories from Sisters, Sailors and Soldiers.
Social Design Collective (SDC) is an art and design collaborative founded and led by Jules Rochielle Sievert. This residency was done in collaboration with artist and veteran Christine Tinsley. Sievert has navigated terrain between art, performance, social justice, collective art practice, and applied design for over 10 years. SDC uses a variety of art and outreach strategies to build community partnerships and networks that endure long after the artistic engagement ends.