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Horses and a Dance Party in Grand Central's Windows Yield Public Art Recognition for Centennial Celebration

Two very special events commissioned by MTA’s Arts for Transit & Urban Design have been named by Americans for the Arts as among the year’s best public art projects in the U.S. and Canada.

Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit foundation that recognizes outstanding public art across North America, honored MTA Arts for Transit in its 2014 Year in Review. Altogether, it named 37 outstanding projects completed in 2013.

The two projects commissioned by the MTA were “Grand Central Lights” and HEARD•NY, both of which were part of the historic building’s 100th birthday celebration.

For “Grand Central Lights,” a group of 135 volunteers with Improv Everywhere used flashlights and camera flashes to perform a choreographed routine in the large arched windows on the Terminal’s west façade. The performance surprised guests and visitors in Grand Central on February 1, 2013, during the centennial party. 

“I was so happy our human-powered light show added an unexpected element of surprise to the terminal's big day,” said Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere.

HEARD•NY, a performance project by artist Nick Cave, was presented by MTA and the nonprofit arts organization CREATIVE TIME.  It featured a herd of 30 multi-colored sculptural horses brought to life by 60 dancers from the Ailey School who broke into choreographed movements set to live music performed by harpists and drummers. Approximately 15,000 people experienced the performances during the twice-daily, weeklong presentation.

This year’s recognition by Americans for the Arts is the third consecutive year that the foundation has honored the MTA for its work in public art.

“We are excited to receive this national recognition and grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm of scores of volunteers, staff and others who worked with the artists to make it possible,” said Amy Hausmann, deputy director of MTA Arts for Transit.

Visit the MTA’s Flickr site for more photos from the Grand Central centennial celebration, including “Grand Central Lights” and HEARD•NY

"Grand Central Lights"
Grand Central Terminal's 100th anniversary celebration included a light show in the windows put on by Improv Everywhere.
The week-long performance produced by MTA Arts for Transit and Creative Time consists of 60 dancers from the Ailey School in “Soundsuits” created by artist Nick Cave.