New Public Art Commission Unveiled at Mount Vernon Public Library

“Seeing the Wind” installation by Rochelle Shicoff Now Welcomes Families to the Library’s Children’s Room Entrance

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (June 29, 2016) – ArtsWestchester, in partnership with the Mount Vernon Public Library, with support from the New York State Assembly, the City of Mount Vernon and Westchester County, cut the ribbon yesterday on a new public art commission created specifically for the Mount Vernon Public Library’s Children’s Room entrance on Second Avenue. The artwork, “Seeing the Wind” by Brooklyn artist Rochelle Shicoff has been a labor of love created for the Mount Vernon community that has been four years in the making.

“ArtsWestchester has been a partner with the Mount Vernon Library for many years,” explained Janet T. Langsam, ArtsWestchester CEO. She continued: “Together with Mt. Vernon civic and arts leaders, we have supported the Triple Hill Music Festival, the establishment of the Library’s Rotunda Gallery and along the way became interested in brightening the façade of the Children’s Room through public art. NY State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow was instrumental in making our vision for the library a reality by securing a $50K grant through New York States’ Community Capital Assistance Program. We are especially grateful to him and our partners on the Library Board, including Board President Oscar Davis, for allowing us the opportunity to add an original work of art to the Library’s property.”

NY State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who secured funds for the project, joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He said of the value of public art: “Public art builds community pride, enlivens the landscape and creates a sense of place. I am proud to have been a partner in this project. In the hands of artists such as Rochelle Shicoff, ordinary streetscapes and entrances can be transformed into magical destinations. It is my belief that the addition of this signature public art piece to the Mt. Vernon Public Library’s Children’s Room Entrance will encourage library usage and will welcome families to the library for years to come.”

Mount Vernon Public Library President Oscar Davis, Jr concurred by saying: “Visual art is just as important to the development of a healthy community as is music and the performing arts. We are honored to have been selected as a showcase for ArtsWestchester’s public art installation. We would like to thank the City of Mount Vernon for its support and especially thank Deputy Public Works Commissioner Curtis Woods who worked with us over the past nine months as well as former Mayor Ernest Davis for encouraging us to consider using public art as a way to increase use of the Library. It is our hope that when people view the art, it will inspire them to express themselves through art and reading.”

Shicoff’s public art piece which has been installed on Second Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets is entitled “Seeing the Wind” and is comprised of eleven 13’ enamel-painted ‘totems’ with animals on the tops of each pole. Each pattern on the ‘totems’ is painted with an emphasis on one color. The animal at the top repeats this color. Artist Rochelle Shicoff explains, “The colorful painted aluminum ‘totems’ feature spinning animals with golden wings whose motion is designed to engage and delight both the library’s children and the Mount Vernon community as a whole.”

She continues: “Due to the size and weight of the piece’s materials (steel & aluminum), also because of the use of enamel paint on the eleven totems, I worked on each of the separate pieces of the sculpture horizontally in a special studio.  It wasn’t until the City’s Department of Public Works crew completed the sculpture that I saw the totems displayed together vertically. I must give kudos to the Commissioner Ralph Uzzi, Deputy Commissioner Woods and the crew, who handled the instillation with great care and precision.”

“ArtsWestchester has been a leader in integrating innovative teaching and learning practices through the arts, and the Mount Vernon Public Library is a staple resource in the community,” said Westchester County Board Legislator Lyndon D. Williams (District 13). “This new sculpture will benefit families throughout Mount Vernon and beyond. I am pleased, too, to have been able to support this important endeavor through Westchester County’s Mount Vernon Arts Initiative, a partnership with ArtsWestchester that is strengthening the arts throughout the city.

The City of Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, added: “I am so thankful to ArtsWestchester for installing this inspirational sculpture in front of our library because it will allow us to nurture the next generation of Mount Vernon leaders. Our youth deserve access to art and culture to motivate them to imagine and grow confidence as they move boldly forward in pursuit of their destiny!”

For more information on “Seeing the Wind” at the Mount Vernon Public Library or with interest in commissioning a public art piece in Westchester County, call (914) 428-4220, Ext. 317.

About Mary Alice Franklin

Mary Alice Franklin is ArtsWestchester’s Communications Manager and Editor of ArtsNews. She has a Bachelors in English and Masters in Publishing, and has been published in Paste Magazine, HuffPost, Art Zealous, Art Times, and more.