From Joker to Shakespeare Stairs

CITYarts is excited to announce a public art mural project: From Joker to Shakespeare Stairs. This mural project will take place from March – October 2023. CITYarts will breathe new life into the stairs that connect Anderson Ave. and Shakespeare Ave. in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx by collaborating with artists that will lead youth through the creative process to paint a mural on this popular staircase. We believe that by bringing vibrant art onto the stairs with the participation of community members, we’ll be able to reclaim the ownership of this impactful structure as a neighborhood piece of art. It will not only infuse joy but bring the community together in a common cause of meaningful collaboration. This project brings members of the Bronx community together around the revitalization of a common, public throughway that will contribute to the rich history of the area with a sense of national and local pride through art. The site became an iconic landmark and tourist attraction after its 132 steps appeared in the critically acclaimed film Joker, where actor Joaquin Phoenix, who won the 2020 academy Best Actor award for his performance, memorably dances to Gary Glitter’s song “Rock and Roll Part 2”.

Artist Responsibilities Will Include:
-Lead students in preliminary workshops that will develop into the maquette and the mural itself.
-Join youth in educational field trips to cultural institutions as a part of the creative process.
-Create a maquette based on the drawings and ideas of the participants, and then submit the design to CITYarts for approval.
-Compile a list of all materials needed for the creation of the mural.
-Lead the participants (students, faculty, families, community members) in creating the mural.
-The mural process will include: stairs mural preparation, designing, painting, sealing the mural on the stairs, drawing of the plaque, and providing instructions for maintenance.
-The project will be completed with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in the Fall of 2023. The artist must be present.

-5 – 10 images of your recent work via WeTransfer (no more than 72 DPI).
-Résumé or CV.
-1-page statement outlining your professional approach and experience working with youth.

This is a WORK FOR HIRE; the copyright is to be owned by CITYarts as the author of the work, pursuant to 17 U.S.C.S. 201(b)

-A panel of art and community professionals will select 5 semi-finalists on 2/13/23.
-Artists will be notified by 2/14/23, at which time they will be invited to come for an interview at the CITYarts office. Artists will be notified of the final decision by 2/17/23. Learn more about CITYarts at
-This project will be presented in collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program (DOT Art) as part of the Arterventions initiative. Selected artwork will be submitted to DOT Art for review and approval by the DOT Art Advisory Committee. DOT Art staff will oversee all phases of project management including design development, internal DOT operational review, and permitting.
-Artist compensation will be $10,000.

“CITYarts helps youth become actively involved in impacting their lives for the better while transforming their community. We hope that this stairs mural will be a source of inspiration to all those who worked on it, live around it, and view it.” –Tsipi Ben-Haim, Founder, Executive and Creative Director, CITYarts


Application Deadline:2023-02-10
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