Taja Lindley. Photo: Jaime Richards.

New York City Announces Four New Public Artists in Residence

Artists Taja Lindley, Laura Nova, Julia Weist, and Janet Zweig have been invited to participate in New York City’s Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) program. The four creatives will be embedded within city agencies and will realize projects that focus on civic and social issues.

“The Public Artists in Residence program is grounded in the recognition that our city’s artists can offer fresh insights and strategies for tackling the challenges at the heart of local government services,” said cultural affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “This extraordinary new group of PAIRs promises to do exactly that—to expand meaningful connections between our city agency partners and the New Yorkers they serve.”

Assisting with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Lindley will work with black parents and pregnant women to explore how their voices can advance reproductive justice and inform changes in medical practices and government policies. Nova will partner with the Department for Aging in order to engage with older adult and migrant communities to help deepen the city’s understanding of ageism.

Weist will complete her residency with the Department of Records and Information Services. The artist often uses her practice to explore the relationship between media production and cultural context. She will work to emphasize the role of the historical record in modern discourse and will investigate the department’s colonial collection and how it can better represent perspectives of the indigenous peoples and enslaved populations.

Zweig will attempt to convey to New Yorkers how they can make a positive difference in issues of sustainability. She will work with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to help drive change on a local level. 

Each PAIR placement will last a minimum of one year. First, the artists will spend time with their assigned agency’s staff and learn about general operations. Then, they will submit proposals for their projects.

Inspired by artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s pioneering artist residency with the New York City Department of Sanitation in the 1970s, the city launched PAIR in 2015. Previous PAIR artists include Tania Bruguera, Onyedika Chuke, and Ebony Golden.