About Garden in Transit
Garden in Transit may be the most ambitious community collaboration and public art project in New York City history.
From September 2007 and until year's end, New York City is being visually transformed, as the NYC taxi - the ubiquitous yellow icon -becomes a mobile artistic canvas, or Garden in Transit.
As part of this art, education and creative therapy project, 23,000 children in schools and hospitals - in addition to many adult volunteers - have painted 80,000 flowers on 750,000 square feet of adhesive panels for a four month public art exhibition featured on taxis citywide.
90% of children participated through schools and hospitals across Greater New York City. Children in New Jersey, California, Ohio, Georgia, and Pennsylvania also participated in the project.
Through Garden in Transit, thousands of school children of all ages participated in civic educational sessions- led by Portraits of Hope- in which they identified, discussed and learned about contemporary social issues affecting their communities and the world. Children integrated their written, oral and visual presentation skills and expressed their views on the individual and societal issues most important to them. As a group, the students evaluated the importance of 14 social themes inclusive of: the environment, education, senior care, national security, ethnic relations, healthcare, women's equality, medical research, foreign aid,poverty, and animal rights. Students were asked what they would most like to improve in the world, reasons why their topic mattered, and how they could contribute toits betterment. After they wrote about their issue, the students designed corresponding visual statements on small-scale taxis representing those issues and gave oral presentations to the group. All children were encouraged to keep their taxis as a reminder of their thoughts and goals. The larger art collaboration - painting a portion of the public canvas- was a group effort to demonstrate tangibly the power of community collaboration and civic engagement.
For children in hospitals, the project served as creative therapy. Children of all ages and medical and physical conditions had the opportunity to engage in Garden in Transit artistic activities, including the painting of the taxi panels. The children - many dealing with cancer, burn trauma, orthopedic ailments and other serious health concerns – participated in the artistic creations with their family members, visitors, medical staff, and hospital and project volunteers. Specialized Portraits of Hope brushes and painting methods were incorporated in these sessions to ensure that any child could participate. Telescope paint brushes were used for children and adults with IVs or in wheelchairs, shoe brushes for children with injured upper limbs or those who could not manipulate a brush in their hands, and flavored mouth brushes for those who painted with their mouths. Bedside visits at the hospitals were made by the Portraits of Hope team to ensure that any child who wished to participate was able to do so.
Ed Massey and Bernie Massey founded Portraits of Hope in 1995, continuing their utilization of art and poignant visual imagery for large-scale projects of social consequence. Garden in Transit was seven years in the making and dates back to 2000 when Ed and Bernie first proposed the idea to the City of New York.
Read About: "What People Are Saying."
Mayor Bloomberg on Garden in Transit:
"Think of this as a great opportunity to give thousands of kids -- many of them sick and disabled -- the thrill and pride of creating something that will travel the city streets and be seen by millions. For the thousands of people who take part, Garden in Transit promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, as one of New York's most enduring symbols is turned into a colorful canvas."
"Last year we saw just how powerful a concept this could be when the artist Christo and Jeanne-Claude transformed another one of our most famous icons, Central Park, with thousands of saffron gates. I have no doubt that Garden in Transit will do the same for yellow that The Gates did for saffron."
"There are a number of groups who have worked to get this mammoth effort off the ground. It was Portraits of Hope that first approached the city with this idea. With Garden in Transit they are bringing their message of compassion, public art, community involvement, and healing to all New Yorkers."
"They say that the best art moves you, well this art will really move you."
TLC Commissioner/Chair Matthew Daus comments
"As announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg several months ago, Garden in Transit (GIT) is an unbeatable combination of taxicabs, kids, volunteers, and the powerful medium of public art."
"In brief, the Mayor’s Volunteer Center and Portraits of Hope (GIT’s parent organization) will oversee the painting, by thousands of New York City school children, of beautifully colorful floral panels that, starting in the fall of 2007 will be installed on many thousands of New York taxicabs for all the world to see and enjoy. I was privileged to participate in the GIT’s kick-off event at IS 291 in Bushwick, Brooklyn this week, and believe more strongly than ever that we are working together on a truly worthwhile and memorable effort that is history in the making."
"I’m happy to report that the Garden in Transit kick-off events held at schools in each of the five boroughs have gone terrifically well thanks to close coordination between the parent organization Portraits of Hope, the Mayor’s Volunteer Center and the TLC. So now the work has begun in earnest to hopefully see every taxicab in New York City transformed into a moving garden by this time next year, highlighting the artistic creativity of our children, and accomplishing one of the most ambitious public art projects ever conceived."
|“I want to thank you for the great experience my class, their parents and I had with you and Portraits of Hope. The students are still talking about and writing about their special time with you and your staff....The experience had a big impact on the students. Your program made them feel important and empowered. They loved talking about world issues, as well as discussing their dreams and future goals."
Joan Goldfield, Teacher, PS 40, New York