Works in Public

The League’s exclusive public sculpture program, presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

a large metal sculpture in front of a bridge and a city

About Works in Public

Works in Public is the League’s exclusive public sculpture program, presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. A professional development program that offers artists the opportunity to create site-specific, large-scale public sculptures, Works in Public was founded in 2010, and originally known as the Model the Monument program. Since its inception, 46 artists have completed this program and had their sculptures installed in year-long public exhibitions at Riverside Park South and Riverside Park at 145th Street. Beginning in 2022, the program has been lead by renowned sculptors and League instructors Haksul Lee and Natsuki Takauji, who are alumni of the program. After being on display in New York City, many pieces from the Works in Public program are relocated for permanent display in at the Florida Keys Sculpture Trail.

Artists who participate in the Works in Public conceive of, create, and install site-specific sculptures in partnership with League instructors, Works in Public advisors, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. In this program, artists gain experience working with the physical materials and processes that are used to create original works of public art. Works in Public participants receive a monthly stipend and a scholarship for a full-time class at the League for the duration of the program.

Each individual artist works independently to fulfill program requirements. Because of the program's rigorous nature, nominated students must be willing and able, should they be selected, to make a substantial time commitment.

To view and download the full program prospectus, click here.

Featured Speakers

Brett Littman

Curator, former director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, Executive Director of The Drawing Center, Deputy Director of MoMA PS1.

Eric Shiner

Curator and President of Powerhouse Arts. Former Executive Director of Pioneer Works, Artistic Director of White Cube New York, Senior Vice President of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s, and the Director of The Andy Warhol Museum.

Jess Wilcox

Curator and Director of Exhibitions at Socrates Sculpture Park.

How to Apply

Works in Public uses an open application process. Selected artists must commit to taking classes at The League during their participation in the program. A successful application is based on the strength of the proposed concept and portfolio. Artists working in all media are invited to apply.

The 2023-24 Works in Public program offers two tracts:

Two-Year Course: Starting in the Fall of 2023, the first year will be dedicated to seminars on the history and contemporary understanding of public sculpture, the study of sculptural concepts, proposal and presentation methods, site analysis, fabrication processes, engineering, and studio visits. This year culminates in the creation of a proposal for a full-scale public artwork. The second year will be dedicated to the fabrication process of selected proposals, culminating in the installation of the artwork in Riverside Park for a one-year public exhibition in the Summer of 2025. The course will offer weekly seminars, guest lecturers, and critics. It will include visits to public art sites and artists’ studios, discussions, recommended readings, assignments, and consultations.

One-Year Intensive Course: Starting in the Fall of 2023, the same curriculum as the two-year course is compacted into a year-long program, with an emphasis on developing and fabricating the proposed project, culminating in the installation of the artwork in Riverside Park for a one-year public exhibition in the Summer of 2024. The course will offer weekly seminars, guest lecturers, and critics. It will include visits to public art sites and artists’ studios, discussions, recommended readings, assignments, and consultations.

The jurors for the 2023 WiP selection will be artist Chakaia Booker and Brett Littman, Director of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum.

For more information, contact Tom Tacik at

Applications are currently closed.

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What does “attending” the League mean? What is the commitment if I am selected?

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  • WiP is a professional development program for students. If accepted into the program, you will be required to take classes at the League.
  • This is an in-person program. You must be located in or able to commute to New York City for regular weekly meetings and other events, as well as to attend classes.
  • You will be awarded a tuition scholarship to attend either full-time class (meeting five-days/week) or part-time classes during the program.
  • Required attendance at weekly meetings, which typically last four hours.
  • You must meet the deadlines for assignments and maquette-making.

What is the budget for a proposed project?

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$20,000 per project for materials and fabrication, excluding transportation and installation.

Where will sculptures be fabricated?

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Fabricators are selected based on the unique requirements of each proposal.

How do I decide between 1-year and 2-year programs?

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You don’t need to decide unless you prefer to participate in one or the other. The selection committee will make decisions and recommendations based on your application if you choose to apply for both.

Do I need to be experienced in sculpture or public sculpture?

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  • You need to have some experience working in 3D, but do not need to have any experience in public sculpture.
  • You don’t need to have the capability to create the actual sculpture on your own. However, to ensure the success of your proposed sculpture, in the course of the program you will have to acquire a basic understanding of fabrication processes on a large scale and more in-depth, specific knowledge that your proposed sculpture may require.

Do I have to make a physical model (maquette) of the proposal?

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Yes. You will be required to submit photographs of your maquette as part of the application portfolio. Graphic animation or representation of your proposal is optional. Your maquette should approximate as accurately as possible the actual materials or the appearance of your proposed sculpture. As a general guide for scale, the maquette may be up to 12 inches in its longest dimension and/or fit within a 12 inch square base.

What are the criteria for a successful public art proposal?

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  • The artistic merit of your portfolio is as important as your proposal. Artistic maturity of WiP participants is crucial. We also want to see how your general art practice (as presented in your portfolio) is connected to your proposal. This doesn’t mean that you must propose only ideas similar to your portfolio. What is sought in this proposal are visual, conceptual, and/or technical relationships to your ongoing art practice.
  • Generally speaking, in addition to the unique artistic vision, successful public art is often site-specific, addressing the spirit of the time (social or political climate, and/or holding public serviceability in visual enhancement, education, or community engagement).

Do I have to create the sculpture exactly as proposed if I am selected?

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No, you can further develop and modify the proposal over the course of the program. However, we don’t recommend drastic changes during the one-year program.

What will happen to the installed sculptures after the exhibition ends?

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  • All the final fabricated sculptures will belong to The Art Students League. Every effort will be made to place the sculptures in permanent locations following the exhibition as The League develops relationships with other municipalities.
  • The program requires fabrication and exhibition of a presentation maquette at the mid-point of the program that represents your project at scale. This maquette will become the property of the Art Students League for archival purposes.

What will I gain from this program?

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  • WiP is a professional development program. You will gain an understanding of the process of applying for public sculpture commissions.
  • Fabrication and exhibition of your proposed sculpture in Riverside Park and the potential for permanent placement following the exhibition.
  • A scholarship to attend classes at The League and a stipend during the program.
  • An understanding of the difference between studio and public art, the examples of successful public art, the role and possibility of public art, as well as public safety and its technical challenges and solutions.
  • Group discussions and critiques, lectures, and consultations moderated by the program managers.
  • Interactions with guest lecturers and critics, curators, and renowned artists.
  • Exposure in the media and the NYC community. In the past, the program was featured in NY Times, WSJ, Daily News, DNA info, and other major TV news programs.

What is the selection process and composition of the jury?

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The selection panel will include representatives from the Parks Department, the League, and invited professionals established in the field of sculpture

Artists are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic Merit & Creativity:
    - Originality of concept and sense of aesthetic vision
    - Quality of artwork and demonstrated artistic skill
  • Proposal Development & Feasibility:
    - Demonstrated grasp of how the proposal can be fabricated
    - Demonstrated clear ideation from concept to maquette
  • Public Engagement:
    - Demonstrated understanding

Thank You to Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge leadership support for Works in Public from The Harry Feinberg Family Foundation and John Padgett. Works in Public is also made possible with the major support of Dr. Lawrence Spielberger & Dr. Greta Spanierman Family Foundation, Ludmila Schwartzenberg Bidwell, Susan Dryfoos and Kathleen H. Seidel. Additional support is also provided by the Brigitte and William Crovello Foundation Inc.

For more information, email To support the program, please email Elizabeth Kingman at

New York State of Opportunity | Council on the Arts