2017 New York State Council on the Arts League-sponsored Independent Projects Grantees

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) in its Independent Projects category annually awards $10,000 project grants to professionals in the architecture, design, and historic preservation fields. Individuals must apply through a nonprofit sponsor. NYSCA awarded twelve grants throughout New York state to individuals, of whom three were sponsored by the League.

Chinese Style: Architecture and Identity in New York’s Chinatown
Kerri Culhane

 Chinese Style: Architecture and Identity in New York’s Chinatown will be the first-ever comprehensive book-length architectural history of New York’s Chinatown. Chronologically and thematically organized, Chinese Style surveys the earliest vernacular tenement and restaurant modifications of the 1870s; through a 1950s urban renewal plan to replace Chinatown with China Village; to architect-designed modern pagodas of the 1920s-80s. The book examines in detail how architecture bridged distinct but allied cultures of China and Chinatown during a dynamic period of political, social, and cultural change.

Independent architectural historian and curator Kerri Culhane has spent the past fifteen years documenting the immigrant neighborhoods of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Bowery. She recently curated the exhibition Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1900-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America 2015-16), which examined the life and career of the first Chinese American professional architect to practice in New York’s Chinatown.

Poy Gum Lee | Architectural rendering of the proposed On Leong Tong (1948) | Image courtesy Poy Gum Lee Family Archive

Stalled!: Gender-Neutral Bathroom Prototype
Joel Sanders

Stalled! is a design/research project dedicated to the implementation of safe and inclusive public spaces that address the needs of differently embodied individuals of diverse genders, ages, and abilities. The project confronts the practical, political, and ideological issues surrounding gender neutral bathrooms with the objective of creating a public bathroom prototype that will address the needs of the transgender community while fostering tolerance and diversity. The project’s design and research will be compiled into an illustrated Best Practice Guidelines manual to be distributed to constituencies, legislators, policy makers, non-profits, cultural institutions, and the architectural and design community.

Stalled! consists of a cross-disciplinary team of experts representing design, trans history/theory, law, and university facilities management. Joel Sanders brings to this project more than twenty years of work focusing on the intersection of gender space and public bathroom design as a professor and practitioner. Most recently, Sanders with Susan Stryker co-authored the essay “Stalled: Gender-Neutral Bathroom Bathrooms,” published in the South Atlantic Quarterly, Duke University Press. As a founding figure in the field of transgender studies, Susan Stryker is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona. Terry Kogan is a professor of law at the University of Utah who has spent the last decade considering the rights of transgender people, in particular issues surrounding the legal and cultural norms that mandate the segregation of public restrooms by sex. Lori Mazor, formally the Associate Vice President for Global Facilities Planning and Policy at New York University, now provides campus advisory services as a founder of her management consultancy firm Synthevity and brings first hand understanding of the practical and policy issues in implementing policy changes at universities.

Image courtesy JSA and Kara Biczykowski

Yes Loitering
Chat Travieso

Yes Loitering is a research project done in collaboration with a group of teenagers that explores the issue of young people and public space. The project argues that teenagers have a right to the city and that their criminalization in public space is unjust and counter-productive. The project will critically analyze the social, legal, and spatial mechanisms that target teens in public space, and imagine visionary ways the city can be more open and inclusive towards young people. It is meant to raise awareness of the issue, question people’s longstanding assumptions of youth criminality, and offer alternatives to adults’ spatial hegemony. The project is done in partnership with The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco).

Chat Travieso is a Brooklyn-based artist, designer, and educator who creates socially-engaged projects that reinforce communal bonds in our public spaces. His work has been commissioned by or organized in collaboration with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Architectural League of New York, Design Trust for Public Space, Hester Street Collaborative, the NYC Department of Transportation, WHEDco, the Elsewhere Museum, and the Cambridge Arts Council.

Image courtesy Chat Travieso