Some time ago, ArtsWestchester was asked to weigh in on a selection process of artworks for the $93 million train station renovation at the White Plains train depot. It was quite an occasion, for which we invited Mayor Thomas Roach to join us and give his point of view on the opening selection.
We traveled to the MTA offices in Manhattan, where we looked at images from many artists who sought the opportunity. We chose a work by Barbara Takenaga that lays facing the lobby of the train station. We also advised the MTA to consider an outdoor installation, which would be visible from the street, and they agreed.
Of ArtsWestchester’s collaboration with Mayor Roach and the City of White Plains, to say we have loved it would not be an exaggeration. For the Mayor, the idea of having artwork in the public domain goes hand in hand with his advocacy for bicycle lanes – all part of his overall environmental strategy.
Last Friday, Mayor Roach was one of three mayors honored by the Americans for the Arts and United States Conference of Mayors for his partnership with ArtsWestchester and his support of public arts. It was one of the most special awards I have ever gotten to vote on. I love the idea that people can be inspired by artwork by just walking through the city. I myself love looking at the art in my daily walks around the city. It makes me think about other things besides the daily grind. Each time I see one of the works of art, I get more involved in its meaning.
I think there are three places in our lives that are essential–one is our home, second is our work place and third is our neighborhood. Public art makes our third place vibrant. Thank you, Mayor Roach, for allowing us to work with you and your colleagues to help make the City of White Plains an artistic place in which people can ride a bike, slow down and take in public art.
About Janet Langsam
During her time at the helm of ArtsWestchester, the organization – formerly known as the Westchester Arts Council – has grown from a $1 million to a $6 million agency and has excelled at making the arts more visible, diverse and accessible for all. ArtsWestchester offers financial and marketing support to emerging arts groups, cultural institutions and grassroots activities throughout Westchester County.