UPDATE: We have decided to suspend our Kickstarter campaign in order to turn our full attention to helping our local New York arts community recover from Hurricane Sandy. We are so grateful to those who pledged their generous support and remain committed to fulfilling the rewards many of you were excited to receive. To continue your support of Art Square and receive your reward as planned, please visit our donation page. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter in order to keep current with TSAS progress. And don't hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, ideas or offers to help volunteer with Sandy relief and upcoming Art Square events. We thank you for your interest in our project, as well as your understanding during this difficult time for New York.
Simply put, Times Square Art Square (TSAS) is looking to stage the world's largest public art exhibition inside the world's most popular tourist destination. Our ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable event in which billboard advertising throughout Times Square is replaced with dedicated art installations for one whole month each year. Ambitious? Sure. Possible? Absolutely.
"But why art?"Well, art has the power to inspire. It gets people to think, fosters creation and development, and makes for happier and more peaceful communities. It makes the world around us a more beautiful and interesting place.
"So why art in Times Square?"Art remains intimidating and inaccessible for a great many people. We mean for Art Square to be open to everyone, a high art event devoid of pretension, one in which people can feel free to question, interact with, interpret and criticize art inside a welcoming, public space. There is an incredible legacy of public art in Times Square on which we intend to build.
"But Times Square is so..." We get it, but we're not accepting it. Consider New Yorkers and our will and ability to shape a better city. It was the sustained effort of local residents that transformed a decaying, elevated railway into the urban oasis that is The Highline. Meanwhile, the visionaries behind The Lowline are working to convert an abandoned, underground trolley station into a subterranean, sunlit park. And those totally awesome guys at +Pool are about to reclaim a river for New Yorkers and create a community pool full of clean, filtered water. They're going to reclaim a river!
In much the same spirit from which these projects were born (and successfully backed here on Kickstarter!), we view Times Square Art Square as an incredible opportunity to restore a little bit of New York to our city's most iconic landmark. Imagine actually wanting to go to Times Square instead of going out of your way to avoid it. It could happen. In fact, it WILL happen.
Confirming that our concept is both viable and appealing, initial supporters stand aligned with TSAS to help us succeed.
The Brooklyn Brothers responded to our humble request for advice this summer on how to make a solid Kickstarter video by creating the amazing little piece of cinema you see above. Yes, that's right. One of the most highly sought after advertising agencies in all the world sees so much potential in our little project, they decided to make us a video to promote it as a most generous gift.
The extremely high level of artistic integrity we are committed to at TSAS is ensured with our first curatorial appointment. Renowned critic and writer, Hrag Vartanian, will serve as Chief Curator for our debut exhibition. He has selected Dutch-Brazilian artist Rafaël Rozendaal as the first to display his work on billboards during Art Square 2013.
At this stage, we turn to Kickstarter to raise money and awareness for our project. Our Dutch sister organization got the ball rolling with $10K in early 2011. Any/all money raised through this current campaign will go directly towards commissioned art, city permits, infrastructure, insurance, administration and security for the multi-day, proof of concept event we wish to stage in early 2013. This debut event will introduce Art Square to the public, confirming our intentions and artistic priorities for the New Yorkers and visitors we hope to benefit, as well as the commercial and political interests in Times Square whose eventual support we intend to gain in writing the next chapter in the colorful story of "The Crossroads of the World." And if you're worried we're going to blow a ton of cash on billboards, don't. We have conceived a legitimate program through which advertisers and billboard owners will realize improved ROI in donating portions of their ad schedules to our program. Truly, it's a win/win.
In addition to the money we are looking to raise here on Kickstarter, we need like-minded individuals to join our cause and help us in creating a strong and unified movement.
For more information on TSAS, please visit our website FAQ.
ART REWARDS (note: images shown are merely examples of the artists' work and NOT those created/donated in limited edition for TSAS backers)
Acknowledged by Al Hirschfeld as "one of the most talented young artists I've ever met," Michael Arthur's uncanny ability to capture singular moments in time with his pen as though using a camera results in deeply intricate drawings layered with nuance and lyricism.
An award-winning and internationally exhibited photographer, Bernie
DeChant's work captures both the beauty of complex urban landscapes and
the quiet cinematic moments of everyday life.
Ward Roberts is an Australian photographer who has exhibited internationally and received numerous awards. Repetition of color and lines lend an ethereal quality to the architectural themes celebrated in his photographs.
Montreal based artist Emmanuel Laflamme began posting art online in 2007 under the nickname Quartertofour. Since then, his work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Laflamme's work juxtaposes irreverent criticism with sincere adoration around pop-culture, religious and historical themes.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE REWARDS
HOLSTEE HOUSE DINNER by STERLING AFFAIR
When Fabian Pfortmüller and brothers Mike & Dave Radparvar founded Holstee in 2009, they didn't just create a company with a conscience. They established a live/work manifesto which has inspired millions to do what they love and affect positive change in the world around them. Their dinner parties are legendary for playing host to fascinating guests and giving birth to great new ideas over laughter and great conversation. And since any great dinner party requires delicious eats, we've turned to a company that exhibits consistent commitment to exquisite food, impeccable service and community support. Led by Executive Chef Sebastian Gumowski, Sterling Affair will prepare and serve a 5-course dinner with wine pairings.
COWORKING at ALLEY NYC
It takes a village to raise a successful Kickstarter campaign. Alley NYC is the coworking space near Times Square that we've called home for the last two months. With startups ranging from security software developers to theater troupes, everyday in the Alley is a good one.
STARTUP BOOTCAMP w/ ANDY ELLWOOD
In-demand speaker and consultant, Chief Strategy Officer at goodpenny and former Director of Business Development at Gowalla, Andy Ellwood has counseled numerous start-ups from development through funding all the way to acquisition.
One of the very boards that TSAS has secured for Art Square 2013 has been generously DONATED for our use on Thanksgiving Day 2012 in order to pass our extreme gratitude on to you and keep the good karma flowing! For those who back us at $25 and higher, this spectacular, digital display will simply say "Thank You [your name or business name here]!" We'll even be able to tell you when your name will appear and provide you an image of the occasion.
All backers giving $10 or more will receive gift letters so that their donations may be fully tax deductible.
Risks and challenges
Times Square is one of the most politically charged spaces in all of New York with a multitude of stakeholders. Developing a sustainable model that considers a variety of interests and values is key to our success. We intend to work with city agencies and art organizations in order to fully reveal the untapped potential of Times Square. The more our community (that's you) stands behind us, the greater our chances of achieving operational sustainability and changing the future of Times Square. Consider your Kickstarter pledge to us a vote in support of a new New York. Let's transform Times Square into Art Square together.
We won’t lie. TSAS is a complicated project with many moving parts and lots of political obstacles in an exceedingly commercial space. But it’s also entirely possible, largely because of our approach and the potential of community collaboration. We fancy ourselves great facilitators, capable of uniting a variety of stakeholders, leveraging lots of existing talents/technologies/organizations/projects and supporting a wide range of interests.
This collaborative approach has helped us galvanize tremendous support for TSAS. It will take time and commitment to eventually realize the full vision of Art Square in which we completely replace ALL advertising in Times Square with art, but we’ll get there. Slowly, surely, methodically and with your support, we’ll get there.
The biggest way to help make Art Square a reality is to spread the word about what we’re doing and join us in creating a massive movement to bring this ambitious exhibition to light. Tell your mother, your neighbor, your best friend and the people standing next to you on the subway platform. Tweet, and like our Facebook page. Blog, and share what interests you about us. Tell Mayor Bloomberg you think this a great idea. The more people that support TSAS, the more chance we have of realizing the full vision of Art Square. And the more you get involved, the more you have a chance of shaping your own New York experience.
With the exception of occasional crowdsourced opportunities supported by new technology and our various art partners, the decision of which art and artists are involved in our event each year will be at the sole discretion of our appointed curators.
For starters, we will never allow the art shown to be compromised by logos or branding. Additionally, we are relying on professional curators from museums and cultural institutions all around the world to curate the Art Square exhibition annually. This will ensure that the most compelling and groundbreaking artists have an opportunity to share their original work within the context of a literate and informed artistic conversation. A rotating roster of curators will ensure that conversation is fresh and relevant each year.
100% of any money donated to this project by individuals or corporations will go directly to achieving Art Square. We are currently awaiting 501c3 tax status by the US government. While our non-profit status is pending, TSAS is working with a fiscal sponsor so that any contributions to our cause will be fully tax deductible for our generous supporters.
To start, Times Square Art Square is relying on various sources of private funding and one very ambitious Kickstarter campaign. Why Kickstarter? Well, as a project that is ultimately for the people, we see this crowdsourced funding platform as a great opportunity to garner and affirm the widespread public support we need to ensure its future at the very same time we raise money. Not to mention, our Dutch sister organization (TS2AS) got the ball rolling with a USD $10,000 campaign in early 2011 that they’ve since donated to our TSAS Foundation here in the United States. For 2013 and beyond, we have developed a sustainable economic model that will eventually rely on a combination of corporate contributions and proprietary content/technology as our main sources of funding. The annual budget will be rounded out by grants and private fundraising.
In a word, yes. That being said, our comprehensive takeover strategy relies on a combination of paid, discounted AND donated billboard space. We anticipate access to grants, as well as reduced permits and fees. All of this will help to mitigate costs and bring the average cost per impression paid for by typical advertisers way, WAY down.
Though solely replacing billboard advertising with art was the original motivation behind the project, our vision has expanded to include ground level installations, performance art, music, film, architecture and more. Our goal is to transform Times Square for the month that we are live each year, creating an alternate experience within the space that visitors can interact with from various entry and view points, different angles and a mix of media and sensory experiences. The reach of breadth of Art Square throughout the Times Square space will grow each year to involve more billboards, more real estate, more art and more impact.
Dubbed “The Crossroads of the World,” Times Square is New York City’s most iconic and visited landmark. The attention bestowed on the space is unparalleled. Its mix of static and digital billboards, along with its open space and visitor traffic, make Times Square the perfect place to stage a globally influenced, contemporary art exhibition.
Additionally, Times Square is critical to New York’s economy and host to a significant percentage of the city’s working population every day. And yet, many New Yorkers will tell you they dislike Times Square. We’d like to change all that even if for a few small moments each year by transforming the crowded, noisy and sometimes chaotic ‘tourist trap’ into a contemplative, inspirational and modern agora that represents the past, present and future of New York all at once. New Yorkers love Times Square? Hey, crazier things have happened.
We at Times Square Art Square believe that art is something to be shared, experienced, appreciated, fostered and even questioned, not just by the art world, but by the WHOLE world. In staging the largest public art exhibition the planet has ever known, we see an opportunity to remedy the issues we find limiting people’s access to the arts. Art Square will function as a vehicle for museums, artists, arts organizations, curators and the like to engage the general public in existing conversations and initiate new ones rooted in their own particular perspectives. The event will be free and open to everyone. Our organization will commission artists; promote education and development; involve international art and influences; and present new concepts in technology, media and communication.
It’s impossible to specify an exact date at this point, as the organization has to go through a standard approval and permitting process like any other public art project and/or community event in New York City. We have some preferred dates in mind for Spring 2013 that we think make sense given everything else going on in the New York arts scene, but final plans will be made based on permit approvals, artists’ creative processes and logistics. We will keep the public informed of our planning process as key decisions are made.
Though Art Square will debut in shorter format, our goal is to develop into a renewable public art exhibition that will last for one whole month each year. We have settled on one month for two main reasons. 1) One month is long enough to truly make in impact in Times Square and give an ample number of people the opportunity to experience Art Square in person, but short enough to avoid disrupting the important commerce and business that relies on the space year round. 2) Advertising schedules for Times Square billboards are typically negotiated in one-month increments.
In 2009, Justus Bruns found himself annoyed by the incredible amount of advertising bombarding him every day and inspiring him to consume versus the small amount of art out there to make life more beautiful and inspire him to create. Justus’ thoughts fell to Times Square, the iconic epicenter of visual advertising and, ironically, a place he’d never visited before. A conversation with friend and mentor Ernst-Jan Pfauth motivated him to create a website dedicated to the idea of replacing all advertising in Times Square with art. The idea caught fire, and soon the New York Post and Times Square Alliance called to inquire about this young Dutch boy and his plans. Realizing that the world was interested in his idea, Justus assembled a team of like-minded supporters and began to spread his message. Eventually, he landed in New York and formed the organization that is now Times Square Art Square.
YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS! - To show you how much we appreciate your support, we will publicly "Thank" YOU on one of Times Square's digital billboards on Thanksgiving Day 2012! We will let you know the precise time you'll be thanked and send you a digital certificate (including an image). Plus you'll get the above rewards.
SHOW YOUR THANKS! - Show how much you appreciate a loved one this Thanksgiving by saying "Thank You" on a Times Square billboard. Each pledge allows you to thank ONE additional person. We will let you know exactly when your messages will be displayed and also send each of you digital certificates (including an image). We'll also give you the first 3 rewards above.
THIS IS YOUR LIFE! - In addition to the above rewards, you will also receive a 12" x 16" poster of the famous and inspiring Holstee manifesto, hand letterpressed with love onto 100% cotton paper made from salvaged byproducts.
FEAST WITH NEW FRIENDS! - Join the Holstee founders for one of their famously fun and intimate evenings at Holstee House in New York City. A gourmet, 5-course meal will be specially prepared and served by renowned NYC caterer Sterling Affair. Plus you get rewards #1-3 and a SIGNED version of reward #4.
LIMITED EDITION PEN & INK PRINT- Receive a specially commissioned, limited edition print by artist Michael Arthur. Your museum quality 11" x 17" digital print will use pigment ink on heavy-duty archival paper. Designed, printed and numbered by the artist. Plus rewards #1-3.
STARTUP BOOT CAMP - You and up to 4 colleagues will benefit from a day of hands-on startup coaching from Strategy Chief and Master of Hustle Andy Ellwood. His last company was acquired by Facebook. Seriously. And rewards #1-3, of course.
UNDERWRITER - Acknowledgement as an "Underwriter" of Art Square 2013, 30 seconds of exclusive name/logo placement on a digital billboard in Times Square during the 2012 Thanksgiving Day Parade and 2 invitations to a special VIP reception for our partners and sponsors.
PARTNER - Acknowledgement as a "Partner" of TSAS on our website, 60 seconds of exclusive name/logo placement on a digital billboard in Times Square during the 2012 Thanksgiving Day Parade and 5 invitations to a special VIP reception for our partners and sponsors during the 2013 Art Square debut event.