About Public Art for Public Schools

Frequently Asked Questions: Sites for Students

Frequently Asked Questions: Sites for Students

What is the history of Sites for Students?
Developed in 1990, Sites for Students is an innovative public art program of the NYC Department of Education and the New York City School Construction Authority. With projects in all five boroughs, over 40 artists and hundreds of students have participated. Completed projects include ceramic tile friezes, murals, mosaics, painted wood reliefs, large paintings and paving designs.

What is the objective of Sites for Students?
The Sites for Students program stresses art education as a component in the creation of permanent public art for new schools. Professional artist/art educators are commissioned to collaborate with students in the conceptualization and creation of projects for these buildings. By inviting students to work with professional artists in designing art for their schools, it is hoped that the artwork will have increased relevance for its immediate audience.

What is the required teaching experience?
We look for artists who are educators, who have a minimum of two years experience. You should feel comfortable in a class room with 15-25 kids. Whether you taught second grade for three years, or lead after school art workshops for a few years, or have been teaching summer workshops with kids for the past few summers, you need to be able to provide a detailed lesson plan and demonstrate that you can be accountable for the students that will be your responsibility for a semester or a year.

While college level teaching is valuable, it is not applicable experience.

If you have been an assistant teacher for many similar type projects, this may be a good opportunity for you.  (Please fill out the attached Teaching Experience form.)

Do you have to have a New York State teaching license?
No, it is not a requirement to have a teaching license. If you don't have one you will be matched with a licensed professional. NYC teachers can apply for a Sites for Students project, but they cannot undertake one if they are actively employed as teachers.

What is the budget?
Budgets range from $25,000 to $100,000. Typically, artists take 20% as a design fee and are paid a set rate for their teaching time in addition to the design fee.   Payment for teaching time varies depending on the number of workshops the artist teaches. The rest of the budget covers workshop materials, fabrication, installation, and documentation. The artist is paid by the School Construction Authority.

What type of schools do you work with?
We have elementary, middle and high school buildings currently under construction. We are looking for artists who have experience teaching K-12. If you feel more comfortable with a certain age group, please specify on your application. Typically, we have found that second and third graders are the most responsive to this program, but the age group varies.

Do you have to be a NYC resident?
No, you do not.

What is the classroom situation like?
Artists are paired with an already designated grade and preferably teach workshops with the art teacher present during the assigned art period.   Generally, workshops are scheduled one day a week and the artist can meet with up to five classes.  If there is no art teacher, Sites for Students workshops can take place as an after-school program.

What is the time commitment?
We ask that artists conduct 15-20 weeks of workshops.  Sites for Students workshops can take place over the course of a semester (4 months) or a year (9 months). Outside of the classroom, the artist will plan workshops, finalize the design and oversee fabrication and installation.  Typically, artists dedicate a year to the program.

How does fabrication work?
Every project calls for a different procedure. Sometimes the workshops lead to the actual fabrication and installation of the final product. Many new schools are equipped with kilns, which present opportunities for students to learn about ceramics.

 The Public Art for Public Schools staff provides support throughout the course of the project and can point the artist toward resources and provide technical assistance. However, we do ask the artist to ultimately find the fabricator and installer who will aid in completing their project, and this does come out of the designated budget.

Does what the students make in the workshops have to be the final product?
No. The completed artwork needs to maintain a child’s hand and sensibility, but it does not have to be a direct translation of the children’s work.  Sometimes, what students create in the workshops serves as a springboard for the ultimate product that the artist designs. Some artists tweak and refine student work. Others hire professionals to translate designs into permanent materials without too much editorializing.  

Is there a theme to the projects?
Sometimes the Principal will suggest themes to explore.

What is the selection process like?
As a City program, a panel consisting of arts professionals, PAPS staff, and the school representatives selects the artist. Typically 3-4 finalists selected from the registry are invited to propose for a project and have five weeks to develop a proposal. Finalists are selected on the basis of their work, concept for a specific project, and appropriateness of their teaching experience for the targeted age group of student participants.

Do you need prior Public Art Experience?
While it is not required, artists who have done both temporary and permanent installations seem better prepared for the opportunity.

When is the deadline?
There is no application deadline for this program.  Projects are ongoing.

For further information please contact Julia Vogl.