On Thursday, the Times Square Alliance announced Jean Cooney as the new director of Times Square Arts.
Cooney, who will oversee the public arts programs put on by the Alliance, comes to the organization from Creative Time, where she organized large-scale commissions such as Nick Cave’s galloping takeover of Grand Central Terminal, “HEARD NY” (which featured 30 life-sized “horses”), and Kara Walker’s acclaimed sugar-coated sculpture, “A Subtlety,” at the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn.
“Jean has an incredible talent for working with artists and public art,” said Walker in a statement. “Always positive and profound and smart — she was an exceptional project manager on my project ‘A Subtlety’ with Creative Time with whom I had an enviably great experience. I have no doubt she will bring the same initiative to her position as Director of Times Square Arts, much to the benefit of artists and the vast community Times Square Arts reaches.”
Founded in 2008, Times Square Arts operates as the public art arm of Times Square Alliance to collaborate with contemporary artists and cultural institution to transform Time Square’s open spaces (including large-scale billboards and open plaza space) into areas for artistic engagement. In addition to the ongoing digital art exhibition “Midnight Moment,” which transmits art across Times Square’s massive billboards every night from 11:57 to midnight, the organization has also presented the installation series “At the Crossroads” and the performances program “Hidden Assets.”
“I am thrilled to take on the unique opportunity of presenting public art in one of New York City’s most iconic, history-rich, kinetic, and complicated spaces with Times Square Arts,” said Cooney in the announcement. “I could not imagine a more exciting platform than Times Square for public interventions, civic engagement, and for artists to dream big, be playful, and dig into the most pressing issues of our ever-evolving cultural moment.”