The Social Impact of Art in the Public Environment

Kendal Henry talks of what we need to take into consideration when we think about socially engaged art.


Lecture by Kendal Henry

October 18, 2019
Odesa, Ukraine


Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and has specialized in the field of public art for over twenty-five years. He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he has initiated in the US, Europe, Russia, Asia, Central Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Caribbean.

Kendal Henry in his talk examined of how public art projects in America are funded. In particular, he told about the law, which is functioning in New York, according to which 1 % of the city budget for newly constructed or reconstructed buildings must to be spent on art. Kendal presented the criteria of how the decisions are made, as well as how the project budget is distributed. He demonstrated several projects implemented in the frame of the program. People who attended the lecture learned of how artists, educators and municipal governments use public art to highlight social issues, engage audiences to take action and influence policy.

Kendal Henry is currently the Director of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program and an adjunct professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. He is a guest lecturer at various universities and educational institutions including the Abbey Mural Workshop at the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts; Rhode Island School of Design Senior Studio; and Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. Prior to that, he served as Manager of Arts Programs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for eleven years, overseeing the commissioning, fabrication, and installation of MTA’s permanent art projects and producing temporary exhibitions at Grand Central Terminal.


The lecture was held in the within the Art Prospect Intensive. Organizers: CEC ArtsLink in a collaboration with Open Place Platform for Interdisciplinary Practice (Kyiv, Ukraine) and Oberliht Association (Chisinau, Moldova).