Doing Our Part
Designers, photographers, artists—all are helping raise funds for the Design Trust for Public Space
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 9/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
What do Willem de Kooning, Nan Goldin, Roxy Paine, Tyler Hays, and Sheila Metzner have in common? Besides talent and renown, all of them are represented in the Design Trust for Public Space's sixth annual auction. Held this year on October 22 at Milk Gallery in Chelsea, the benefit is being cochaired by Interior Design Hall of Fame member Kitty Hawks, also a member of the Design Trust's board, and editor in chief Cindy Allen.
The Design Trust might best be defined by what it is not. This from Hawks: "We're not advocates. We don't have an agenda. Nor are we antidevelopment." Instead, the nonprofit spearheads projects to improve the civic spaces of New York. Founded in 1995 by Andrea Woodner, the organization is first and foremost a forum for the meeting of design professionals and the municipal personnel who get things done. "Our goal," Woodner says, "is to give the makers of public space access to the best design thinking available." Savvy New Yorkers know all about the development of the High Line park and the quest to rethink the yellow cab—among the dozens of Design Trust credits to date. It also sponsored a study on greening the city via building guidelines.
Process is just as important as results. The organization doesn't generate projects, but it issues a request for proposals every year and a half. This time round, they'll address Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan for the year 2030. After a jury selects one to three RFPs, the Design Trust assembles a team of experts—from designers to economists and ecologists—to do research and propose solutions for that particular public space, all in partnership with the appropriate city agency.
The fate of these initiatives is tied to the benefit auction, which generates one fourth of the Design Trust's annual operating budget. According to executive director Deborah Marton, this year's stellar roster of 120 pieces is expected to yield more than $250,000. So get going, going, gone.