Save the Presidents, 2018, collaboration with Tali Keren, still image of 4K video on the screens of Times Square, commissioned by Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment
Four artists – Gioncarlo Valentine, Alex Strada, Modesto Flako Jimenez, and Carlos Irijalba – will embed within the Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, Department of Homeless Services, NYC Health + Hospitals, and Department of Design and Construction over the course of the next year
Today, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs announced four artist placements for the City’s 2022-23 Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) program. The artists, selected through an open call conducted earlier this year, will be embedded within the Department of Homeless Services, Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, NYC Health + Hospitals, and Department of Design and Construction. Over the next 12 months, the artists will bring their creative practices to bear on a range of public challenges, including the ongoing scourge of gun violence; the need to develop equitable, resilient infrastructure; the need to address hate crimes; and our understanding the experience of homelessness. Each artist receives $40K stipend, dedicated workspace within their respective agencies, and ongoing technical assistance and support as they develop and implement their public facing art projects.
“Our artists are one of our city’s greatest assets, and we’re so excited to bring their creative energy into public service through DCLA’s visionary PAIR program” said Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer. “Art is the heart and soul of New York, and has the power to infuse compassion, empathy, and innovation into our work like nothing else can.”
“The myth of the artist as a ‘lone genius’ holed up in their studio has been thoroughly busted – we know that artists are deeply rooted in our city’s communities, and that their creative practice can act as public service” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Our extraordinary Public Artists in Residence program builds on this understanding, embedding artists within local government to help imagine new solutions to age-old problems. We’re thrilled to announce this latest group, and can’t wait to work alongside this class of PAIRs and our partner city agencies to bring to life their bold ideas for helping New Yorkers.”
2022-23 NYC Public Artists in Residence
Gioncarlo Valentine, PAIR with the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC)
Gioncarlo Valentine is an award-winning American photographer and writer from Baltimore City. Backed by his seven years of social work experience, his work seeks to examine issues faced by marginalized populations, most often focusing his lens on the experiences of Black/LGBTQIA+ communities. Through writing and photography, Gioncarlo aims to broaden conversations around masculinity culture, gender, and longing. Gioncarlo will serve as Public Artist in Residence at OPHC to memorialize the unheard stories of New York City to reorient discussions on hate violence and serve as a bridge between communities.
“I am terribly excited to begin my work with OPHC and to come up with creative, enriching, and accessible ways to make New York City safer for the LGBTQIA+ community, with a particular focus on Black and Brown transgender men, women, and Gender Non-Conforming/Non-Binary folks. I know that transformation takes time but I’m excited to be in thought, in community, and in conversation around these issues,” said Gioncarlo Valentine, PAIR with the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes.
“Art has the power to inspire social movements, lift voices of the most vulnerable, and expand the world around us. OPHC is honored to have Gioncarlo Valentine join us as our inaugural Public Artist In Residence. We look forward to collaborating with Gioncarlo, and learning from his creativity, passion, and art,” said Hassan Naveed, OPHC Acting Executive Director.
Alex Strada, PAIR with the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS)
Alex Strada is a multimedia artist and educator whose practice explores questions of collectivity, critical legal studies, and political transformation. Her projects are often produced collaboratively and center engagement with activists and scholars across fields. She has exhibited work at the Queens Museum, NYC; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Anthology Film Archives, NYC; UnionDocs, NYC; Socrates Sculpture Park, NYC; Museum of the Moving Image, NYC; MuseumsQuartier, Vienna; Listasafn Árnesinga Museum, Iceland; Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania; and the screens of Times Square with Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment. Alex will serve as Public Artist in Residence at DHS to help reframe how New Yorkers think about and understand the experience of homelessness and address the question, “Who are our clients? People, like you and me.”
“How do New York laws aid in preventing or perpetuating the experience of homelessness? I am specifically interested in exploring New York’s right to shelter law in relation to barriers surrounding access to affordable housing, people seeking asylum, and mass incarceration. I plan to draw from social practice and participatory storytelling to help create coalitions, increase advocacy, and create a space for people to collectively rethink how legal structures and alternate systems of care could be instituted to provide more support and aid to those who need it most,” said Alex Strada, 2022-23 PAIR with the NYC Department of Homeless Services.
“The PAIR program offers us a unique opportunity to work with a talented and experienced artist to reframe the public’s understanding of homelessness in New York City” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “DSS-DHS is thrilled to partner with our Artist-in-Residence, Alex Strada, as she creatively explores the complex experience of homelessness and creates a public facing art project that demonstrates that our clients are our neighbors, friends, and family members. Anyone can experience homelessness, and it is essential that we approach the issue of homelessness with compassion and understanding.”
Modesto Flako Jimenez and Oye Group, PAIR with NYC Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H)
Modesto Flako Jimenez and Oye Group present an eclectic mix of theater, dance, poetry, music, video installations and film, through festivals and productions. The Group curate work that sparks a dialogue over political and social issues critical to the community’s growth. They work with emerging artists and communities to create, play, and grow in an environment that challenges and supports them. The group also provide quality arts education programming that gives the Brooklyn Community the tools to generate forward-thinking art. Modesto will serve as Public Artist in Residence at NYC H+H to bring its communication concerning community- and gun- violence to a larger audience, explore and develop alternative strategies, including around its NYC H+H Violence Interruption and Prevention programs, advocacy, safety and wellness that address the gun violence crisis, create meaningful public dialogue and community engagement and mobilization.
“Dozens of young people are victims of gun violence in our city each year,” said Modesto Flako Jimenez, PAIR with NYC Health + Hospitals. “Countless others have access to guns, and tens of thousands are exposed via social media and news headlines of gun violence across our city, country, and world. Tragically, too many lack social support and mental health services to avoid gun violence. Theater, reading, writing, and poetry – possibly incorporating stories of violence among their communities – can be used to provide youth with self-awareness, self-expression, confidence, and other skills to avoid gun violence and educate their peers on how they may do the same.”
“We are excited to have Modesto Flako Jimenez and Oye Group join us at NYC Health + Hospitals as Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) and partner with our violence interrupter and prevention programs,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. “Gun violence represents a public health crisis of epidemic proportions that our hospital emergency departments see every day, and I’m hopeful that our PAIR can expand and address the much needed dialogue about the toll that gun violence is taking on communities in New York City.”
Carlos Irijalba, PAIR with NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC)
Carlos Irijalba is a multidisciplinary artist who works by the principle of pertinence, trying to remain context-responsive and enhance the connotations of the community. Much of a reactive artist, in projects like Pannotia (2016-ongoing) he works with geology and time sensitive materials that give people perspective over the dominant narratives in history. In projects like Hiatus (2022) or Muscle Memory (2019), using installation and sculpture made with existing materials or industrial process, he tries to reflect on the collective construction of territory while remaining sensitive to local geopolitics. Carlos will serve as Public Artist in Residence at DDC to help the public understand the challenges and complexities of providing infrastructure in a city with the over-arching goals of creating a sustainable, resilient, and equitable City.
“The theme of Carlos Irijalba’s work reflects the scale and complexity of DDC as we rebuild large portions of the City’s coastline to make it more resilient and to provide more recreational opportunities in underserved areas that can benefit from them,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley. “His studies of materials and how they can be incorporated into human-scale spaces is relevant to our infrastructure works throughout the City. I look forward to working with Mr. Irijalba and I thank our previous Artist-in-Resident Melanie Crean for her time with DDC.”
“The visible materials and hidden networks in civic construction shape our physical navigation and emotional senses,” said Carlos Irijalba, PAIR with NYC Department of Design and Construction. “Hardware like asphalt, stone, open space, metal-wrapped curbs fulfill an intended purpose while informal software like parking cone culture and fire hydrant sprinklers, create other realities. How do we bring awareness to this symbiotic and paradoxical relationship between planning intentions and actual uses? What can we learn from the gaps between the hardware and software that form the city´s infrastructural operating system?”
Each PAIR artist receives $40,000, and the residency lasts 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 the artist’s 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 during the remainder of the residency. In addition to the fee, PAIR artists receive in-kind resources such as desk space with the partner agency, and access to DCLA’s Materials for the Arts creative reuse program.
PAIR was inspired by artist Mierle Ukeles’ pioneering artist residency with the NYC Department of Sanitation, which started in the late 1970s. Since its 2015 launch, PAIR has now placed 24 artists in residence with 15 City agencies. A full list is available on the Cultural Affairs website.
Recent PAIR highlights include artist sTo Len’s work with the NYC Department of Sanitation to create the Office of In Visibility; I Still Believe in Our City campaign by artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, working with the NYC Commission on Human Rights; The People’s Bus and The People’s Festival, initiated by artist Yazmany Arboleda working with the NYC Civic Engagement Commission; and You Do It with Your Heart Black business solidarity initiative by artist Andre Wagner, working with the Commission on Human Rights. In 2021, DCLA announced that artworks by two recent PAIRs had been acquired by major cultural institutions around the world.
About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/culture.