Jean Cooney. Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein.

Jean Cooney Named Director of Times Square Arts

The Times Square Alliance announced today that Jean Cooney, the current deputy director of Creative Time, was appointed director of its public art program, Times Square Arts, which collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to present artwork across the square’s electronic billboards and public plazas. She succeeds Debra Simon, who led the program from 2017 to 2018. Andrew Dinwiddie has served as acting director since her departure.

“The Alliance’s aspirations for the second decade of its public art program will only be enhanced by Jean’s talent and passion and her experience shaping one of the world’s leading public art entities, Creative Time,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said. “Not only did my memory of Creative Time’s installations on Forty-Second Street in the 1990s inspire the creation of our arts program fifteen years later, Creative Time’s continued engagement with both New York’s diverse cultural community and the key issues of our time reflect the direction we want our program to go.”

Cooney spent seven years at Creative Time and has worked in various roles at the organization, including as project manager, director of public projects, and, most recently, deputy director. During her tenure, she helped realize Nick Cave’s HEARD•NY, 2013, in Grand Central Terminal; Kara Walker’s A Subtlety, 2014, at the former Domino Sugar factory; and Duke Riley’s Fly By Night, 2016, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Commenting on her new role, Cooney said: “I am thrilled to take on the unique opportunity of presenting public art in one of New York City’s most iconic, history-rich, kinetic, and complicated spaces with Times Square Arts. I could not imagine a more exciting platform than Times Square for public interventions, civic engagement, and for artists to dream big, be playful, and dig into the most pressing issues of our ever-evolving cultural moment.”