On July 20, 2020, New York City Department of Design and Construction Deputy Director Xenia Diente, an artist and art administrator in the Public Buildings Division, presented the fourth session of DDC STEAM’s Virtual Lunch and Learn Program to over 34 students across New York City. Lunch and Learn is a one hour interactive presentation by DDC professionals speaking about their current role, career path and education. The series connects DDC professionals in the built environment, administration, construction management and design to students to share their experience and knowledge.
Ms. Diente spoke about her experience working with visual artists and designers to plan, design, fabricate and install public art citywide in civic projects. Since the formation of DDC in 1996, Public Art has been a component in both public buildings and infrastructure capital improvement projects. Ms. Diente stated, “The objective of this Lunch and Learn is to provide an overview of NYC’s Percent for Art Program and how A&E’s Public Art administrators manage public art projects within larger DDC capital projects.”
Over the years, the Public Art team has teamed up with DDC STEAM on many events like Summer Streets, Earth Day, Boogie on the Boulevard and last year a mural at the Horizon Juvenile Facility.
“A particular favorite of mine is The Haul, a floor-to-ceiling mural created by young people involved in the criminal justice system at the Horizon Youth Detention Facility that depicts inspirational African American men and women who broke barriers and made contributions in architecture and engineering. The mural is both inspiring and illustrative of the transformative power of the arts,” stated Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives, Lee Llambelis. Learn more about The Haul.
Ms. Diente explained that the Public Art Unit’s primary responsibility is to implement §224 of the New York City Charter, commonly referred to as the “Percent for Art Law”, which mandates that 1% of funds for eligible capital improvement project funds be set aside for the commission, purchase or installation of artworks. Percent for Art projects are developed through a collaborative process that is composed of representatives of the project stakeholders. The team works together throughout the course of the project lifecycle from planning to artist selection, design through installation.
After installation, artworks are reviewed again by the Public Design Commission for compliance with the approved design. Upon final approval of the Public Design Commission, completed artworks become a part of the collection of the City of New York. Artists prepare final documentation for archival purposes.
These capital improvement projects include but are not limited to Courthouses, Parks, Cultural Institutions, Police Precincts, Streetscapes, Plazas, Libraries, Fire Houses, Sanitation Facilities, Memorials, Animal Care Centers, EMS Stations, Homeless Shelters, Marine Transfer Stations, Health Centers, Detention Centers, Children's Services, Wastewater Treatment, and other publicly owned sites throughout the City.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc