Public Art Initiative

An ongoing project to add art to the landscape of Rye and spark thought and conversation throughout the community. To learn more about each project and hear audio tours from the artists, download the free app Otocast.


by Damien Vera
In Rye Town Park

CopeA walk in the park just got a little more interesting. Damien Vera’s Cope has found a temporary home in Rye Town Park. The 14-foot steel sculpture, on loan from The Art Students League of New York, was originally exhibited in New York City’s Riverside Park in 2012. It will be on display in Rye Town Park through the summer of 2017 as part of The Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative.

“Cope is a wonderful addition to Rye Town Park,” says President of the Rye Town Park Commission, Gary Zuckerman. “It adds another dimension to the concept of enhancing the passive uses of the Park. Placing artistic endeavors within its natural beauty further adds to Rye Town Park’s symmetry and elegance. We welcome similar ideas from all of the Park’s stakeholders.”

The sculpture is comprised of five curved structures of varying heights. The outward-facing sides of each are made of smooth stainless steel. The inward-facing sides consist of a more harsh and industrial-looking, rusted steel.


Encased within each tower is a cast stone sculpture of a human figure. These hidden statues are only visible through a small slit in each tower. They will go completely unnoticed by most people as they pass by. “I want it to be for curiosity,” explains Vera whose goal for the piece was to create an environment with which the viewer can interact. It serves as a reward for the more inquisitive viewers who take the time to engage with the piece.

Cope tells two stories. From the outside, it is abstract, strong, and shining; something to add a creative flare to the landscape. Cast against the seaside part, some may see the structures as sails or fins, others may see the sculpture as a giant claw breaking through the earth. But, once you climb into the space between the five towers, the work transforms. Only then, do you see the raw and rusted steel and the small openings through which you can view the isolated human figures.

This sculpture is the newest installment of The Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative. Local artist, Bob Clyatt, who has been instrumental to this project says, “Damien’s work is a great example of the caliber of sculpture that we can hope to bring here in the years ahead through The Rye Arts Center Public Art Initiative — it enriches our community and creates an opportunity for artists to generate excitement about their work.”


The DNA Totem

by Suprina
at The Rye Arts Center

DNA Totem One man’s trash is another woman’s sculpture. The newest work presented through The Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative is The DNA Totem by Suprina. This thought provoking piece is a 9’6” high model of a DNA strand made of steel. The steel frame is embedded with hundreds of found objects, attached with epoxy, and coated with metallic/UV rated paint.dsc_0134_29401393534_o

The looming structure serves as a reminder of the footprint we leave behind. Through her sculpture, the artist asks, “Is it in our DNA to be so destructive to our home?” She explains, “The sculpture is meant to bring up for discussion why we humans, who have such a similar DNA to all the other creatures of the Earth, are destroying our habitat. All other animals only produce waste the Earth can assimilate.”

Suprina is a New York-based sculptor. She shows in galleries in Chelsea, Harlem, Brooklyn, Jersey City, Newark, Morristown, Governor’s Island, Chicago, Scottsdale, and The Monmouth Museum, NJ.

The techniques used by the artist in this sculpture are not new to many students at The Rye Arts Center which offers classes in recycled art, mixed-media assemblage, and creative building.

“I am excited about this piece because it goes well beyond aesthetics. The DNA Totem serves as a catalyst for conversation.” says Meg Rodriguez, Executive Director of The Rye Arts Center. “It is a perfect example of art helping to promote positive change in the community.”

The DNA Totem will remain on the lawn of The Rye Arts Center (51 Milton Road, Rye) through the year.DNA Totel Detail