NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The streets of downtown New Rochelle are teeming with city spirit, after more than a dozen local artists ornately painted fleur-de-lis sculptures that have been installed throughout the shopping district.
The city commissioned 15 five-foot, fiberglass sculptures, each of which was then decorated by a local artist with a specific theme. New Rochelle Parks and Recreation crews then installed the works of art in several key areas downtown last week.
According to lore, the shape, which appears on the official city seal, was chosen to represent New Rochelle’s French roots after Huguenots founded the city in 1988. The initiative – a collaboration between city officials, the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) and New Rochelle Council on the Arts – is in celebration of the city’s 325th anniversary.
With the sculptures now installed downtown, the city has prepared a self-guided walking tour of the various fleurs-de-lis that were painted. The brochures explaining the tour can be found online or at the New Rochelle Public Library.
This project continues the Art in Public Spaces Program that the New Rochelle Council on the Arts began in 2008.
The first project, an outdoor mural by Jeff Schlanger was installed at the Lawton Street Parking lot then; while other public art displays include the atrium at the library, mosaic benches at the Ward Acres Community Garden. There are also several murals that have been painted by students at various schools in the district.
Monique James, a student at Monroe College who was observing one of the sculptures near New Roc City, said that she thought it was a nice improvement for New Rochelle.
“I haven’t seen all of them, but the ones I’ve seen just in walking around down here, are beautiful,” she said on Tuesday. “I think my favorite that I’ve seen is the abstract design (outside of the Halstead building). The colors are just really fun.”
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