Temporary art installation ‘beautifies’ Staten Island Courthouse construction site


New York Construction Report staff writer

A temporary art installation has changed the look of the construction fence and spaces between the six large stone columns that are part of the Staten Island Courthouse façade.

“Reify” by Public Artist in Residence Melanie Crean will be on display until Dec. 10.

It includes five banners each 20-feet high by 6-feet wide are hung between the courthouse’s pillars 50-foot long by 7.5-feet high supergraphic print is placed on the construction fence. The installation will be on display until Dec. 10.

“DDC is proud to participate in the public arts programs while rehabilitating this important civic structure,” NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley said in a statement. “This project is an excellent example of how we use construction sites to engage New Yorkers even while our projects continue.

“I want to thank Melanie Crean, our community partners, and our colleagues in government for advancing the valuable ‘Public Artist in Residence’ program.”

Crean’s residency was committed to transforming a DDC construction site into a platform for exploring, imagining, creating and enacting connections between affected communities and the public works that impact a neighborhood.

For this installation, named “Reify,” the artist conducted a series of workshops with local young people where they described their relationships to the justice system. The images featured on the fencing and hanging banners in “Reify” echo people forging connections with each other across multiple divides.

The 1913 courthouse at 18 Richmond Terrace is currently undergoing a $5.2 million capital project to restore the historic front stairs, handrails and other items on the façade. The project began in April and will be completed in fall 2023, is being managed by DDC for the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS).

The project includes the replacement of the building’s existing limestone steps and landings with more durable granite stairs with bluestone landing pavers. The concrete adjacent to the steps will be replaced and the existing structural support beneath the stairs will be rebuilt with new reinforced concrete columns and beams.

New ornamental bronze handrails intended to look like the building’s original handrails as seen in historic drawings will be installed. The project will also replace the coping stone and iron picket fence above a retaining wall located along Schuyler Street. A new sidewalk and curbs will complete the project along Richmond Terrace.

“Reify” is part of City Canvas, a DCLA initiative supported by DDC and the non-profit organization ArtBridge.


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