Continuing a legacy that dates back in certain ways to Mierle Laderman Ukeles creating an artist in residence position for herself within New York’s Department of Sanitation in the 1970s, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs has named four new appointees for its Public Artists in Residence program, also known as PAIR. As part of a program officially minted in 2015—when Tania Bruguera began a year of service with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs—the artists will be embedded within city agencies “to address pressing civic issues through creative practice,” as a news announcement reads.
In a statement, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said, “Artists can open our eyes to new ways of seeing things, revealing new avenues for solutions, collaborations, and improving lives. With these four new PAIR residencies, we have a real opportunity to approach some of our city’s most profound concerns—including criminal justice, domestic violence, and human rights—from new perspectives.”
The four appointments are as follows:
- Rachel Barnard with the Department of Probation: Barnard, a founder of Young New Yorkers, an arts program for teens prosecuted as adults in criminal court, aspires to broker better communication between probation officers and people under their supervision.
- Onyedika Chuke with the Department of Correction (Rikers Island): The Nigerian-born Chuke will work to help offer avenues for self-expression and healing through access to art for prison inmates.
- Ebony Noelle Golden with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence: Golden’s aims include making awareness of aid available in “particularly vulnerable communities, including those isolated by location, culture, language, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”
- Tatyana Fazlalizadeh with the NYC Commission on Human Rights: Fazlalizadeh, who worked as an art consultant on Spike Lee’s TV series She’s Gotta Have It (and made all the paintings by the show’s main character), will work with New Yorkers facing discrimination, with a focus on women and girls.