Times Square Arts, which describes itself as the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, announced The Office for Creative Research as the winner of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition for their proposal We Were Strangers Once Too.
We Were Strangers Once Too will be available for one month of viewing, beginning with the unveiling February 7.
The public data sculpture highlights the role that immigrants have played in the founding and continued development of New York City. The Office for Creative Research used the data compiled in the 2015 American Census Survey to create 33 metal pole sculptures, each representing national origins of foreign-born NYC residents, to generate conversations about the value of diversity and its particular importance in the city.
The sculpture is designed so that individual color blocks of red and pink gradually become an iconic heart, as visitors experience shifting perspectives from various vantage points around the artwork.
“Now more than ever New Yorkers need to stand up and say we are proud to live in a city of immigrants. We Were Strangers Once Too is our way to acknowledge and say thank you to the diverse communities of NYC for their many contributions historically, currently and into the future,” said The Office for Creative Research.
Curatorial partners Times Square Arts and Urban Design Forum had seven other final sculpture proposals for the ninth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition.
This year’s finalists included Open (Your) Heart by Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, Blind Love by Young New Yorkers, Heartfelt by Ekene Ijeoma, Heart to Heart by Partners and Partners and Annie Barrett, Love Square by McEwen Studio, Of Monsters and Gods by Future Firm and Andrew Heumann, and Beyond the Cell-fie by Alan Waxman Ecosocial Design.
Although many artists and designers entered the rings of competition with varying outlooks for the valentine heart design, Daniel McPhee, executive director of Urban Design Forum, said “We Were Strangers Once Too is a powerful display of our city’s vibrant immigrant communities, and an important reminder that our city should always welcome new New Yorkers.”