Getting to Zero

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On December 13, 2016, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Open House New York for Getting to Zero: Cities and Waste, a year long series of tours and programs that will explore the architecture and infrastructure of New York City’s waste system. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Getting to Zero: Cities and Waste is the third installment of Open House New York’s Urban Systems Series, which has previously explored issues such as contemporary manufacturing and the architecture of New York City’s food system. Launching in 2017, Getting to Zero takes its inspiration from New York City’s 0X30 campaign, which aims to eliminate the 3,000,000 tons of residential waste that New York City sends to landfills each year. The series will deepen public understanding about how our built environment has been shaped and reshaped over time in response to changing attitudes about garbage, and consider what possibilities a radical transformation in waste management could have for new forms of architecture and urbanism. Through tours of infrastructure facilities; lectures and conferences; and other programming, Getting to Zero will raise public awareness about the architecture and infrastructure of waste and about collaborative possibilities for designing a better, more sustainable future.

“In many ways, our waste management system was intentionally designed to keep our garbage out of sight,” said OHNY executive director Gregory Wessner. “But that invisibility also hides from public view the full consequences of the enormous amount of waste we generate each day. Through Getting to Zero, Open House New York will help the public better understand the complex challenges of how we manage waste in a city like New York and to open up the conversation about the future of these systems. We are very grateful for the NEA’s generous support of this project.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

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