Times Square is often referred to as the “Crossroads of the World.” It draws in over 50 million visitors annually, with 330,000 passing through on any given day. If you have a billboard in Times Square, a ten-second slot can get you a half-million impressions! Times Square Arts is a public art program spearheaded by the Times Square Alliance, which gives artists a chance to engage and be seen in one of the world’s most iconic locations. Times Square Arts has several programs bringing even more vivacity to the center of the world. While you’re enjoying the art, did you know that you can have your own photo on a Times Square Billboard? Check out welcometotimessquare.com to learn more.
Times Square is home to the largest and longest-running digital public art program in the world. This program is called the Midnight Moment. The Times Square Midnight Moment is actually three minutes. From 11:57 PM to midnight, every night, over 90 Times Square billboards synchronize to showcase digital video art. The Midnight Moment program started over a decade ago.
Every month, the Times Square Midnight Moment showcases a different artist. February 2023 brings the art of Casey Kauffman, whose work is entitled Squanderlust. This whimsical work features cotton candy colors, digital rainbows, waterfalls, a bunny, and a variety of flora and fauna. The three minutes are a wonder to behold, so make sure you leave time in your trip to take in the Times Square Arts Midnight Moment.
Millions of people walk by the Times Square Midnight Moment every year and never realize they are experiencing it. You are now in on the Midnight Moment secret. The only night Times Square does not have this Midnight Moment is New Year’s Eve, because the world is focused on the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.
For a fantastic view of the Times Square Midnight Moment, head to the “Red Steps” at 47th Street and Broadway. It’s the best spot in the city to view any billboard and the Midnight Moment.
Artists dream of creating an installation for Times Square. Designing a piece to interact with the lively, urban environment is a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience. Times Square Arts aims to expose the diverse array of visitors passing through to the huge variety of public art.
Past works of art have included social awareness pieces such as We Are More, which aimed to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), NYC residents. It fought to challenge stereotypes of the Asian Community. According to the Times Square Arts website, the work by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya aimed to say: “We are more than your Asian sidekick, the confused foreigner, the future doctor, your submissive plaything, the helpless refugee, the dragon lady, the straight A student, the computer hacker, the martial arts master, the spunky girl with dyed hair, the quiet kid, the dependable worker, the Tiger mom.”
Other Times Square Arts works aimed to uplift. For example, Messages for the City. Times Square Billboards were illuminated with messages of support and solidarity with New York City’s health care and essential workers.
Some Times Square Arts pieces are alive — literally. January 7, 2019 brought Partita for 8 Voices. This a cappella work actually won the Pulitzer Prize for music. Caroline Shaw, the composer, is the youngest person to have received the Pulitzer Prize for Music. The piece consists of four movements and was originally inspired by the composer’s late-night walks around Hell’s Kitchen. It was performed in full in Times Square twice and included a dance performance by the duo Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya, with the LEIMAY Ensemble.
WHAT’S ON NOW
Times Square Arts also brings work to Times Square that is just good, old-fashioned fun. For the past 15 years, Times Square Arts has held the Times Square Love and Design Competition. This year’s winner is the Brooklyn-Based Almost Studio and their work entitled Love’s h|Edge.
Love’s h|Edge by Almost Studio will add a bit of whimsical romance to the city. This interactive installation has a Wonderland topiary maze through February 28th. Pedestrians can walk through it, admire it, and take tons of photos. At 1:00 PM each day, free, fresh-cut roses will be handed out to passersby. Anyone handed a rose can place it on the structure wherever they like. As the month progresses, the heart-shaped installation will acquire more and more roses. The effect will be that the structure itself is blooming. It’s living art that anyone who enters helps to create. The outside of the installation is a green hedge with heart-shaped windows carved into the structure. These windows create the perfect frames for the interior, blooming roses. The Times Square Alliance expects a few surprise proposals to take place in Love’s h|Edge.
Love’s h|Edge is directly underneath the Welcome to Times Square Billboard. Imagine walking through Love’s h|Edge with your sweetheart, looking up, and seeing your photo in lights. Visit www.timessquarebillboard.com to learn how to make this dream a reality.