Featured Image|2b245ab4 F53f 42e9 Bef8 F040697fed69|4ce5193c 9fee 4a5d 805d 7e450588b649|561b35b6 89d0 418b 8cdd Da8de1200e7a|3217937f 4937 41aa 9c48 3579f1e5ddbe|B29b7f16 79d8 4a40 Be6f 9a923565d2f8|Behinha|C0be63d4 5cb1 4809 Bade 4e37bb2d3e38|C5e7ae30 57f9 4a27 A143 Eae2c06eb85f|Cbfd3cd0 6d23 4eb6 9a38 1c9ee11ee7d7|Ee6c79bc 5e4a 4ff7 9c2a 546218193534|Fb708e05 338c 4417 B58d 6b4265b801aa|Featured Image|Ff0853df 5365 4254 Ab0b 0f1cade22664|Karine+caroline|Michaelzelehoski|Selected Artist Splash|Tandafrancis|Tonydibernardo|Image 2|New Kan Landscape Design

A New Project Repurposes the Plywood of Boarded Up Storefronts

Plywood Protection Project by worthless studios awards materials and grants to five artists in order to transform boarded up storefronts into public art installations

Featured Image
Courtesy worthless studios

Over the past year, New York’s streetscapes have been taken over by plywood. In the summer, retailers, restaurants, and luxury brands quickly boarded up windows in order to protect storefronts as protests raged against police brutality. This past week, the ubiquitous building material made an appearance yet again as businesses prepared for unrest in the wake of a contentious election. As the method appears to be becoming the new normal, the city’s plywood supply is dwindling, and in some stores prices for a standard sheet of the material skyrocketed up to $90 a sheet. As a cheap and accessible material that benefits many artists and makers turns into a hot commodity, the Plywood Protection Project, conceived by New York-based nonprofit worthless studios, offers a response. Founded in 2016 by Neil Hamamoto, worthless studios has been on a mission to provide space, resources, and technical assistance to aspiring artists.

Image 2
Courtesy worthless studios

After this summer’s protests, as retailers began to “shed their protective layers,” worthless studios began a process of picking up the discarded materials, with the plans of donating them to artists to be repurposed into public installations across the city. Plywood Protection Project put forth an open call for proposals, of which five winners would be awarded studio space, tools, fabrication assistance, a $2,000 stipend, as well as a $500 material budget to complete their projects. The winning proposals serve as an “important reminder that the issues we’re living through don’t disappear once the physical barriers and reminders are taken down,” worthless states in their announcement letter.

Yesterday the jury—Jean Cooney, director of Times Square Arts; the curators of The Noguchi Museum; Elizabeth Masella, senior public art coordinator at NYC Parks; Brian E. Glover, deputy director of grants and programs, Bronx Council on the Arts; Christina Daniels, head of residencies and classes, Pioneer Works; and Avinash Rajagopal, editor in chief, Metropolis—announced the winning proposals, which are expected to be on view by Spring 2021.

More from Metropolis

You may also enjoy “OBY House Addresses Affordability in the Bay Area.”

Would you like to comment on this article? Send your thoughts to: [email protected]

Register here for Metropolis’s Think Tank Thursdays 

and hear what leading firms across North America are thinking and working on today.

Recent Projects