Mayoral candidate Ray McGuire proposes ambitious public arts plan to assist NYC’s recovery

Democratic mayoral candidate Ray McGuire wants to bring large-scale, outdoor art installations to each of the five boroughs through a plan he projects could generate up to $1 billion in economic activity.

The plan, which McGuire calls Public Arts Project for Economic Renewal, or PAPER, aims to attract tourists and local foot traffic through installations akin to “The Gates,” which went up in Central Park in 2005.

McGuire, an avid art collector who serves as Studio Museum in Harlem’s trustee board chairman, hopes to tap into public-private partnerships to launch the initiative, which he contends would help the city recover from the economic devastation wrought by the COVID pandemic.

“Arts and culture are central to our economy and to my comeback plan. They bring in visitors from around the world and make the city a vibrant place that attracts the best talent,” McGuire said. “Step one is getting Broadway, our museums and local cultural organizations in all five boroughs open again, with the financial support they need to thrive. But we can go even further, making sure New York City is the global cultural capital for the 21st century.”

The PAPER initiative would be one step toward that goal. McGuire said he also plans to “transform art education” and ensure that the city provides “direct support for artists.”

To make the PAPER plan work, McGuire would enlist the city’s artistic community to “recruit, fund, and support the transformation of the city’s major public parks and open spaces into exhibition spaces for large-scale art.” The total cost of the plan is unclear, though.

In this Feb. 12, 2005, file photo, pedestrians walk along the edge of Harlem Meer under "The Gates" project, by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in New York's Central Park.

“The Gates,” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, is estimated to have generated $254 million in economic activity for the city and cost $21 million.

If elected, McGuire intends to bring ambitious public arts projects like it to Central Park, Prospect Park and the Staten Island Greenbelt, as well as Pelham Bay, Van Cortlandt and Flushing Meadows parks.

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Source (Ny Daily news)

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