The Bryant Park Painters-in-Residence Program keeps ALL the paintings? Yes.

In the NYTimes today Lisa Foderaro contributed an interesting story to the Region section about the new Painter-in-Residence progarm at Bryant Park, a lovely park located behind the Beaux-Arts landmark building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street that is considered the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Bryant Park�s pristine lawn, lush hydrangeas and movable bistro tables
have been well documented in photographs and videos, but not so much in
paint. This summer, to correct that situation, the Bryant Park Management Corporation, [a not-for-profit private management company] which operates the park, chose four artists to
be painters in residence: each is being paid $2,000, in addition to the
cost of materials, to spend two weeks depicting life in the park.

�The public loves to watch painters, and we thought that if we spent
$10,000 on a full summer of painting that it would be well worth the
money,� said Daniel A. Biederman, president of the management
corporation. It also infuses the park with an ineffable charm. 

 Walter Lynn Mosley, Williamsburg Bridge. Image courtesy of the artist’s website.

 Patti Mollica, Gallery District, acrylic on Board 24x24inches. Image courtesy of the artist’s website.

Yuka Imata, Greywacke Arch, oil on linen. Image courtesy of the artist’s website. (Strange coincidence: today I walked under this arch in Central Park for the first time.)

Patti Mollica, Walter Lynn Mosley, Andrea Arroyo (sorry, no images available) and Yuka Imata were selected from 39 applicants from a panel of BPMC staff members. According to the article, Mosley made 19 paintings, Mollica made 12, and the number the other artists completed is unspecified. Unlike other residency programs, however, all the paintings become the property of the Bryant Park Management Corporation. At the end of the article Foderaro reports that

It is unclear what will become of the paintings by the four artists in residence…�We�re debating among three or four possibilities,� Mr. Biederman said. One idea is to collect business cards from park visitors and then hold a drawing with the paintings as prizes.

But the park corporation could also decide to sell the canvases, or keep them. �We could have our own display up in our offices,� Mr. Biederman said, referring to the corporation�s headquarters on Avenue of the Americas, across from the park. �Or maybe even in the park�s restroom, which has classical music and beautiful flower displays. But it�s never had artwork.�

Does this arrangement strike anyone else as strange? The guidelines clearly state the work becomes the property of the BPMC, but shouldn’t a limit be established as to how many paintings the artists have to turn over to the corporation?


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  1. According to this system, one painting is worth $2,000 and so are 12 paintings. It would seem a lot more reasonable to ask for two paintings or even four, but there should be a set number. You would never find such a vague policy about expected production levels outside of the art world.

  2. Per the article, they're also paid for the cost of materials. It seems like the honorarium could be a bit higher though. $2,000 for two weeks of work is not much.

  3. Especially since they were working in extreme heat. I must say I found the whole thing strange also when I originally read the article a few days ago. Seems like the "corporation" got lot's of free artwork for the restrooms.

  4. A good idea, especially if the organization extends the work through publication and formal event to view the work –although $5000 for 2 weeks would make it a more competitive enterprise, and the investment even more lucrative in the long run –good for all involved.

  5. This is why as artists, we need to read contracts.
    For all involved, a scenario might be for the partk to retain reprint issues and let the artist keep the work. The work could then be in shows and competitions, gaining recognition for both parties.

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