2015 MTA Arts & Design Art Poster - New York Voices
New York Voices
by Ashley Bryan, 2015
MTA Arts & Design has released a new graphics arts poster, and this one celebrates music and voices of the Bronx. The artwork is titled “New York Voices,” by artist and children’s book author Ashley Bryan. The piece will be installed in hundreds of subway stations and cars throughout the New York City Transit (NYCT) system.
The colorful poster depicts two groups of singers with their arms linked, mouths opened in mid-song. It is based on an original painting by Bryan, who said he was celebrating the variety of voices that create the soundtrack of New York City.
“The spirit of the voice harmonizes the city. It is this character of raising the voice in song which adds color to the life of all New Yorkers,” Bryan said.
MTA Arts & Design commissions five to six artists each year to create transit-related graphic art for posters installed on platform and mezzanine walls of subway stations and for art cards displayed inside subway cars. The posters are seen by millions of NYCT customers, providing illustrators and artists an opportunity to reach a broad audience while introducing the public to visionaries who create engaging visual art.
“We are honored to work with the celebrated artist Ashley Bryan and to share his work with his hometown. He was inspired by the joyful music of the city and created an image of a choral group coming together to sing. His work celebrates the millions of voices in our great city and the harmony we can achieve when we raise our voices together,” said MTA Arts & Design Deputy Director Amy Hausmann.
Bryan was born and raised in the Bronx in 1923. He studied art at Cooper Union until he was drafted into a segregated unit during World War II, but he continued to draw even on the beaches of Normandy. He returned to New York to finish his degree and earned a second degree in philosophy at Columbia University. He later went to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship.
Bryan taught for several years, at the Dalton School in Manhattan, Queens College and Dartmouth College, where he retired as professor emeritus in 1988. He also wrote and illustrated numerous children’s books of African and African-American stories, becoming a pioneer in the genre. In 2013, he was honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library.
Although he has lived on an island off the Maine coast for the past 50 years, New York remains a vital part of him.
“At every moment I strive for connection. If you are in the moment, you are stretching out to reach that which you recognize in others. That’s my secret,” Bryan said.