The Mission of Madison Square Park Conservancy As Cultural Institution or Park Caretaker?

Mad. Sq. Art

TV Monitors in a tree disguised as art. Jacco Olivier
Mad. Sq. Art

The Madison Square Park Conservancy has announced the hiring of a permanent full time curator to head the parks art program. Since 2004 there have been over 23 art installations. This raises the question of what is the mission of the conservancy at all. Debbie Landau, president of the conservancy said “The Madison Square Park Conservancy is a cultural institution”.

This helps explain their growing budget and hunger for revenue generating events in the park. In 2011 just one installation, the Jaume Plensa sculpture, cost the park over $620,000.

In the ultimate case of Mission Creep Debbie landau has compromised her stewardship of the park. The increased activity of fundraising compromises the ability to enjoy the park. It would be hard to argue that Corporate Branding Events add in any positive way to the park visitors experience. Additionally  the installation and decomisioning of these large installations are often disruptive in themselves involving cranes, trucks, riggers  and construction.
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