More Art is a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to producing meaningful and engaging works of public art in New York City. More Art garners the power of public art to encourage social change and bridge the gaps existing between underserved communities and the general public in New York City. We make art accessible to all by fostering artistic collaborations between contemporary artists and local communities and locating all our projects in freely accessible public spaces. We support artists in their creative endeavors and provide a public platform of expression for artists and community members to express themselves through art.
Since its inception in 2004, More Art has produced a wide range of projects reflecting the concerns and challenges of various New York City communities. Our work started in Chelsea, which, like many areas in the city, underwent a dramatic period of gentrification, which transformed a working class neighborhood into the epicenter of the contemporary art world but in turn marginalized many long-time, low-income residents. More Art focused on building understanding between the two communities by creating opportunities for a creative collaboration on public art project. In 2008, for instance, the month-long Chelsea Art Project featured three public art installations by artists Tony Oursler, Anthony Goicolea, and Nicola Verlato that were directly inspired by Chelsea’s complex architectural history and socio-economic fabric. Over the years, we have built a number of longstanding partnerships with several organizations, including Hudson Guild, the Chelsea Cultural Partnership and the Highline, where artists such as Pablo Helguera (2011) have staged their work. More Art has also worked with public schools including the LAB School for Collaborative Studies, the Liberty High School and the Clinton Middle School for Artists and Writers. Education has always been – and remains – central to our mission. We regularly invite professional artists to work with public middle school students to introduce them to the many possibilities of contemporary art practice and encourage them to investigate their own communities, as exemplified in the projects by Anna Gaskell (2005), Jenny Marketou (2011) and Ofri Cnaani (2013).
In recent years, More Art has reached beyond Chelsea in order to address a broader range of issues and engage a growing audience; Michael Joo‘s work (2007-08) was presented in both Chelsea and Miami while Joan Jonas‘ was exhibited (2011-12) in Soho and Philadelphia. Expanding on our original mission, we have worked with communities chronically underrepresented in the public space, such as senior citizens and war veterans – as evidenced by Kimsooja‘s (2010) and Krzysztof Wodiczko‘s projects (2012); and the homeless through Andres Serrano’s Residents of New York, and our Engaging Artists Residency. We aim to give a voice to the unheard and a face to the unseen through art. Consequently, our projects have gone increasingly ambitious, transcending the traditional boundaries of public art and expanding into workshops, lectures and panel discussions. This comprehensive and holistic approach to public art not only enables us to stress community involvement but also to approach sensitive topics in a powerful and respectful way. In the future, More Art will continue to push the possibilities of art by presenting ambitious projects at the forefront of socially engaged art practice.