Artist Liz Alderman is one of a robust variety of New York City-based artists to receive $5,000 through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.
Liz Alderman was recognized for her dynamic paintings of birds and her “Put A Bird On It!” public art proposal* to paint large-scale murals of birds throughout the five boroughs.
As part of the City Artist Corps, Alderman has “put a bird” on a 32-foot-wide, 8-foot-tall expanse of construction fencing along 521 City Island Avenue in this unique island neighborhood of the Bronx.
The purpose of the City Artist Corps program is to help pull New York City through the CoViD-19 pandemic with the very assets our global arts capital is best known for in the first place: our artists.
With this mission in mind, Alderman set out to revisit an extraordinary point of reconnection with nature that developed in the earliest days of the pandemic. In those first tense weeks when businesses were abruptly shuttered, transit was slowed to a near stop, and the normal din of the of metropolis had quieted, New Yorkers began to hear something virtually inaudible before then: the birds.
This auditory experience, paired with weeks of socially distanced walks past empty buildings, bland office facades and ghostly transit hubs led Alderman to an aha moment: “I should ‘put a bird on it!’”
With an obvious nod to the now-classic IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and its emblematic vignette “Put A Bird On It,” Alderman decided to cast all irony aside and actually put a bird on it in the real world and for the greater good, starting in her own community of City Island.
Her first mural features birds local to the Pelham Bay Park area, such as ospreys, egrets and seagulls and was painted over the course of several weeks in September and October.
The project will culminate in an unveiling ceremony for the public on Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 02:00 to 04:00 p.m. at 521 City Island Avenue (rain date Saturday, November 06, 2021) with hot beverages provided by local café Clipper Coffee as well as performances, readings, bird calls, and speeches by City Island residents.
The unveiling ceremony will be capped off with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. across the street at local eatery Archie’s Tap & Table (536 City Island Ave] Chef Alexander Pertsovsky will debut a new custom “Flocktail” for the occasion alongside beer and wine specials.
Over the course of three award cycles, more than 3,000 artists have received grants to engage the public with artist activities across New York City’s five boroughs this summer and fall. Artists can use the grant to create new work or to participate in creative activities across any discipline. The program is funded by the $25 million New York City Artist Corps recovery initiative announced by Mayor de Blasio and DCLA earlier this year.
Special thanks to:
Photography and documentation:
Unveiling Ceremony Participants(as of Monday October 18, 2021):
Barbara Burn Dolensek, Captain Mike’s Diving Services, Inc. and Materials for the Arts.
Materials for the Arts is New York City’s premier creative reuse center, which provides NYC arts nonprofits, public schools and city agencies with access to free materials. The program strives to keep valuable items from entering the landfill and to put them into the hands of arts professionals, educators, and students across the five boroughs.