Since 1983, New York City has spent $41 million on art in public spaces such as parks, public plazas, streets, and sidewalks. Who decides public art? Where does the money come from? 

In the fall of 2018, CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist Ilaria Ortensi and Teacher Lexi Scholes’ literacy class at the International Community High School in the Bronx to dig deep into the world of public art. To investigate, students created sculptures, interviewed key decision makers, and surveyed community members about the art they would want to see in their neighborhood. Students created the booklet Whose Art? to inform other communities on how they can bring public art into their neighborhoods. 

Students debuted their project at International Community High School, where they discussed what they learned from their creative process. 

Get your own booklet here!

Check out more photos of the project process here!

What People Are Saying

“I think CUP recreates the classroom, transforming it into a team that collaborates with creative strategies and artist tools to learn and explore conceptual topics. I think this method helps students gain more self-esteem and discover their unique talents.” - Ilaria Ortensi, Teaching Artist


Emely Abreu, Mohammed Alzobidi, Emely Caba Rodriguez, Genesis Camacho Perez, Yulia Castillo, Arielys Colon, Mohammed Doukoure, Hanzel Estevez, Welisabet Familia, Henlly Garcia, Ruddy Garcia, Samuel Garcia Payero, Daniel Hernandez, Yinerolis Hidalgo, Mercedes Jimenez Garcia, Djenaibou Kaba, Ian Laboriel Chavez, Yaniel Lugo, Gumersindo Maximino, Jefferson Mojica, Inmanol Padilla Benitez, Michel Payano, Milennys Pena Caceres, Ashley Perez Pena, Yasneiry Plasencia, Lisanyi Rodriguez, and Sulayman Sayang

Resources & Links

International Community High Schoois a progressive public school for English Language Learners in the South Bronx.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the Bay and Paul Foundations, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Diana Ayala.

Special Thanks

Clair Beltran, Codi Haigney, Kendal Henry, Justin Garett Moore, and Crystal Melville.


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Ilaria Ortensi
  • Project Lead
  • Fielding Hong
  • Project Support
  • Leigh Taylor
  • The International Community High School
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Lexi Scholes

  • Principal
  • Berena Cabarcas