Model to Monument program bringing art to NYC parks

A unique program is giving artists a new way to show off their talents. The Model to Monument Partnership gives artists a chance to create sculptures which are put on display.

Riverside Park South is glorious, with river views, paths, and lots of green. And there's even more to take in: public art.

"This tile is to represent all the people who now call New York City home," said Phyllis Sanfiorenzo, who says her sculpture is a little 'New York meets nature'.

It's made of concrete and tile. She calls it 'Atabey's Land Haven', a reference to Puerto Rican deity.

"She's called the supreme mother of waters, so, inspired by this wonderful view of the water, I chose to depict her coming out of the water and taking holiday on land," said Sanfiorezno.

And she's accompanied by her mer-man. Both attract a bit of attention for the artists. She and six other artists who have their work on display are part of the Art Students League. They were chosen to participate in what's called the Model to Monument program.

"It's a very intensive nine months, where the participants learn the entire process of making public sculpture," said Ira Goldberg of the Art Students League of New York.

Grants cover the cost of the production, and the New York City Parks Department provides the space to encourage people to think about the park in a different way.

"A lot of times we go to spaces on a daily basis and they start to just fall into the background, where this allows people to think a little differently and see a different perspective," said Jennifer Lantzas, New York City Parks arts coordinator.

Artist Minako Yoshino's perspective is one of love. "I wish this spot becomes a sanctuary of love," she said.

Her lovers reference Japanese Shinto mythology, and people can leave love notes on the stones that surround her piece.

This is the fourth year for the Model to Monument program, and these sculptures will be up through next June.

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