‘Sitting Together’ leads discussion at Joyce Kilmer Park

‘Sitting Together’ leads discussion at Joyce Kilmer Park
Photo courtesy of NYC Parks

A park nestled near the Bronx Courthouse will house a meaningful interactive art installation.

The Art in the Parks: Uniqlo Park Expressions Grant is supporting the creation of artworks by NYC-based emerging artists for ten designated parks this June including the Bronx’s Joyce Kilmer Park and Virginia Park.

These creative projects are made possible through Uniqlo’s generous $200,000 donation.

The Uniqlo grant program will transform the parks into art destinations through a series of rotating exhibitions.

Each grantee receives an award of $10,000 to create their proposed artwork which will be displayed for up to one year.

Port Morris resident and artist Dionisio Cortes Ortega’s Bronx Supreme Courthouse-inspired installation ‘Sitting Together’ will be housed in Joyce Kilmer Park this June.

Sitting Together critiques the established proceedings of courtroom cases and features sculptures that place the plaintiff and defendant on modified witness stands.

Ortega’s art installation evokes empathy and understanding while redefining everyone’s perception of conflict resolution.

Each sculpture’s color and seating direction addresses the severity of conflicts.

Its green sculpture represents an area where people can resolve less intense conflicts, the orange seating area for slightly heated conflicts and the red seating area is reserved for more intense discussions.

Ortega, a Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art Class of 2009 alum, said Sitting Together was inspired by the park’s proximity to Bronx Supreme Court.

“I hope people see Sitting Together as a friendly environment where they can engage in discussions and debates,” he said. “I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity because this is the first time my art is being displayed for the public.”

“Without the support of Uniqlo, Parks wouldn’t be able to fund this program or our local emerging artists’ projects,” explained NYC Parks deputy director of Public Art Jennifer Lantzas. “We hope that these public artworks will make people stop and ponder their meanings while also starting conversations among parkgoers.”

Since Uniqlo opened its first global flagship store in SoHo ten years ago, it has embraced neighborhoods and communities as showplaces for creativity.

Jean Shein, Uniqlo global director of Sustainability, said the Art in the Parks program was established as a way for Uniqlo to give back to the community and to Parks.

“Reception to the public art installations have been overwhelmingly positive and many residents have adopted these installations as part of their neighborhood,” said Shein.

Uniqlo’s first Bronx store will open this spring at the Mall at Bay Plaza. No specific grand opening date has yet been established.

The borough’s Virginia Park will house the ‘I’m So Happy You’re Here’ installation featuring traditional parquet flooring patterns in kaleidoscopic hues.

Long Island native Cara Lynch’s mural occupying the Virginia Park’s drab blacktop plaza will challenge the notions of value, accessibility, destination and origin.

To view Ortega’s work, visit his Instagram page, dionisioiv.