More than forty years ago, New York City took ownership of 14 square blocks on the Lower East Side for urban renewal and “slum clearance.” Its legacy is a row of parking lots on the south side of Delancey Street. Few renewal projects have been so contested, and very few of the originally-planned buildings were built. This is SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, one of the largest underdeveloped city-owned parcels of land.
The Layered SPURA / City Studio project, headed by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, explores this complex site using a hybrid approach of pedagogy, art and research, and involves long-term collaborations between Lower East Side community organizations and students in Bendiner-Viani’s City Studio, a part of the New School’s Urban Programs. This exhibition, a culmination of four years of student, faculty, and community collaboration, does not suggest solutions for a place beleaguered by top-down planning, but rather hopes to spur new conversations amongst people with different points of view about SPURA’s past, present and future.
The project has collaborated with many local community and art organizations including Good Old Lower East Side, Pratt Center for Community Development, Place Matters, common room, Buscada, Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Art Center and Creative Time.
Student artists involved in four years of the project include : Oscar Brett, Sarah Charles, Anastasia Ehrich, Jamie Florence, Savannah Foster, Zachary Fried, Matt Fujibayashi, Kara Gionfriddo, Joshua Guerra, Leijia Hanrahan, Anke Hendriks, Jaclyn Hersh, Vinh Hua, Evan Iacoboni, Candace Kiersky, Sohee Kim, Lila Knisely, John Lake, Sam Lewis, Rachael London, Hannah Lyons, Claudie Mabry, Stephanie Messer, Corey Mullee, Amy Nguyen, Katherine Priebe, David Privat-Gilman, Ian Pugh, Adam Schleimer, Kaushal Shrestha, Matthew Taylor, Gabriel Tennen, Samantha Washburn-Baroni, Brittney Williams, Emily Winkler-Morey, Alexander Wood and Hannah Zingre.
Support is provided by The Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice at Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts, The Urban Design & Urban Studies Programs at The New School, and The New School for Public Engagement.