Art to “The Crossroads of the World”

By Victoria Ingalls

Times Square in New York City is regarded as one of the leading tourist attractions in the world today with estimates suggesting some 50 million visitors a year pass through. Each day some 450,000 pedestrians pass through this junction between Seventh Avenue and Broadway earning the area the nickname of “The Crossroads of the World”. Times Square was named after The New York Times newspaper moved there in 1904 and the event for which the Square is most well known is the New Years Eve party and the annual ball drop which attracts in excess of a million revellers on December 31st.

The Times Square Alliance due to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year was created to improve and promote Times Square. The Alliance is involved in a range of activities from making sure the Square is clean and tidy to promoting local businesses, encouraging economic development and generally championing the importance of Times Square as a commercial and social site of global significance.

Aside from the neck-injury inducing vast neon advertisements adorning the tall buildings, hustle and bustle of people is the highly visible, but perhaps less well-known public art program of the Times Square Alliance.

The Arts program has since its inception attracted over 60 prominent and emerging artists to exhibit their work in this iconic location. The upside for the artist is overwhelmingly clear – some 310,000 daily visitors will see their work on display.

Among the more recent projects has been the Times Square Arts initiative to bring Saya Woolfalk’s short movie ChimaCloud to the electronic billboards in the Square for 3 minutes from 11:57 p.m. to midnight every night in June as part of The Midnight Moment exhibition. This project is a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.

Saya Woolfalk’s ChimaCloud transforms Times Square and its big screens into an imaginary transport hub to a utopian society where inhabitants adopt new behaviors, psychologies and physiologies. Combining both animation and live action, ChimaCloud is a series of short digital videos collected from Woolfalk’s ongoing multimedia project ChimaTEK. In the multi-year projects No Place, The Empathics and ChimaTEK, Woolfalk has created a kaleidoscopic world known as the Empathics, a fictional race of women who are able to alter their genetic make-up and fuse with plants. With each body of work, Woolfalk continues to build the narrative of these women’s lives, questioning the utopian possibilities of cultures mixing.

At the Crossroads is another initiative using the bright Duffy Square Red Steps to introduce art to a public audience. A recent event was Jane Jacobs 100: Readings & Reflections from The Death & Life of Great American Cities. The public were invited to sit on the stoop of the Duffy Square Steps, unfold a red chair on Snohetta’s pedestrian plazas, put on wireless headphones provided by the Times Square Alliance, and hear urbanists and city-lovers of all hues read and reflect on their favorite excerpts from Jacob’s classic text in real time – all as you watch the “intricate ballet,” ‘the seeming disorder” and the “marvelous order” of a great public space.

For more information on the Times Square Alliance please visit

Forthcoming Events

Voyage by Beau Stanton
July 1-31, 2016 | 11:57pm-Midnight

July 14 and 15, 12:00pm-4:00pm | July 16, 2:00pm-6:00pm

Cistern by Jherek Bischoff
August 1-31, 2016 | 11:57pm-Midnight

Cistern by Jherek Bischoff
(live Performance via Silent Orchestra)
August 21 and 22, 2016 | 11:30pm-Midnight