What makes a good schoolhouse? Beyond the basics of classrooms and library, a good school inspires students and teachers and enhances the learning environment through its architecture and its art. Nowhere is this principle better demonstrated than in the New York City school system, the largest in the United States, where a collection of more than 1,500 artworks has been assembled over nearly 150 years. This extraordinarily diverse group ranges from stained glass by Tiffany Studios to vast mural cycles commissioned by the WPA to modern and contemporary works by Hans Hofmann, Ben Shahn, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, and Vito Acconci.
Education has been a priority for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and school construction and public art have expanded dramatically under his leadership. New school buildings have been commissioned from noted architects including Polshek Partnership, Pei Cobb Freed, and Arquitectonica, with installations by Tony Oursler, Sarah Morris, and James Casebere.
"Public Art for Public Schools" provides a comprehensive and insightful account of the history and future of this program, lavishly illustrated with archival images from the Department of Education and handsome new photographs by the noted architectural photographer Stan Ries, which were specially commissioned for this publication.
About the Author
Mayor Mike Bloomberg began his career in business at an early age. A Johns Hopkins University degree in engineering led to an MBA from Harvard Business School, which prepared him for a job with Salomon Brothers, an investment bank where he eventually oversaw the trading firm's information systems. In 1981, he started Bloomberg LP and turned his vision of using emerging information technology to bring transparency and efficiency to Wall Street's trading firms. As mayor of NYC, Mike has brought hundreds of bold innovative programs, policies and initiatives to the city, making it a cleaner, safer place for its inhabitants. As a philanthropist, Mike created Bloomberg Philanthropies and has donated, to date, over $2.4 billion to the arts, education, environment, government and public health causes.
"There is an extraordinary treasury of artwork, more than a century’s worth, within the walls of city schools. But because it is scattered through all boroughs, in buildings not typically open to the public, there has been no way until now to appreciate the breadth of the collection or the depth of it."
—The New York Times
"In this book Michele Cohen takes a thoughtful and critical look at the exceptional history of public art in the city’s public schools and reminds us how art shapes the minds and values of our children every day."
—Michael R. Bloomberg
"Broad in scope and relevance . . . The book strikes a pleasing balance between text and image . . . Cohen effectively summarizes a large, complex, and fascinating story."
—Public Art Review