Saturday, February 29, 3:00pm

Artists are claiming public art with new exigency. At the intersection of contemporary life, physical interaction, civic and political issues, and unconditional access, the inclination towards outdoor projects is attracting the most distinguished artists working today, including those who are not typically known as “public art artists.” In addition to the public art programs and sculpture parks that commission outdoor work, public art has been installed with increasing frequency by major museums as the gateway to their collections and exhibitions. 

On Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 3 PM, join distinguished artists and curators who will speak on the impact of realizing public art on their respective practices. Moderated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York.

Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1981 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and is known for a practice that spans media and scale, and examines the historical frameworks and perspectives that shape our material and cultural assumptions. She received a BFA in Sculpture and a BA in Art History from Kent State University in 2003, and an MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond in 2005. She also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. She has been the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Grant, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, and a Pollock-Krasner Grant. She is also a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. Al-Hadid has had solo exhibitions in museums throughout the US and internationally and her work is included in collections such as the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, and Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC. Between 2018 and 2019, her large public installations were in a traveling exhibition to Madison Square Park, New York, NY, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, and Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Nashville, TN. 

Elaine Cameron-Weir was born in 1985 in Red Deer, Alberta Canada and now lives and works in New York. She assembles contrasting natural and artificial elements into sculptural entities using materials that often have functional or provisional attributes. She has had recent solo exhibitions at JTT, New York; The Dortmunder Kunstverein in Germany; Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York as well as at The New Museum, New York; Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Venus Over Los Angeles, Los Angeles and Ramiken Crucible, New York. Her work has been shown at Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada; at the Montréal Biennale, Montreal, Canada; the Fellbach Triennial in Germany; and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Happy Hypocrite, Flash Art, and Novel. She currently lives and works in New York. 

Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and specializes in the field of public art for almost thirty years. He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he’s initiated in the US, Europe, Russia, Asia, Central Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Caribbean. He’s currently the Director of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program and an adjunct professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. He served as the Director of Culture and Economic Development for the City of Newburgh, NY where he created the region’s first Percent for Art Program. Prior to that post he was Manager of Arts Programs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts for Transit for eleven years and served as a member of the MTA’s in-house design team, and produced temporary exhibitions in Grand Central Terminal. Previous to this experience he was elected to serve two 3-year terms on the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council.

Olalekan Jeyifous (b.1977) is a Brooklyn-based visual Artist and Designer whose practice often re-imagines social spaces around issues relating to the relationship between architecture, community, and the environment. He has exhibited at venues which include the Studio Museum in Harlem, the MoMA, and the Guggenheim Bilbao.   
In addition to his extensive exhibition history, he creates large-scale artwork for public spaces such as an award-winning installation for the Durham SmArt Vision Plan in Durham, NC, a 50ft-tall sculpture for the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and was recently awarded the inaugural commission for the Shirley Chisholm monument in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, along with fellow designer, and Cornell Alumna, Amanda Williams.

Josiah McElheny is a New York-based sculptor, performance artist, writer and filmmaker best know for his use of glass with other materials. He has exhibited widely including surveys at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, as well as exhibitions at The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His exhibition Prismatic Park, Madison Square Park, New York, was his first large-scale public project, including architectural prismatic glass sculptures as the incubator for new dance, poetry, and music. He is a frequent contributor to such publications as Artforum, Cabinet, and Bomb Magazine and has edited numerous book projects including Glass! Love!! Perpetual Motion!!!: A Paul Scheerbart Reader. In 2006 he was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Brooke Kamin Rapaport is Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator and is responsible for the outdoor program of commissioned public work by contemporary artists. She was Commissioner and Curator of the United States Pavilion for the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2019 with the exhibition Martin Puryear: Liberty / Libertà.



Board of Officers' Room, Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue at 67th Street, NYC


Photo of Diana Al-Hadid
Diana Al-Hadid

Photo of Kendal Henry
Kendal Henry
Director, Percent for Art, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Photo of Olalekan Jeyifous
Olalekan Jeyifous

Photo of Josiah McElheny
Josiah McElheny

Photo of Elaine Cameron-Weir
Elaine Cameron-Weir


Photo of Brooke Kamin Rapaport
Brooke Kamin Rapaport
Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York