MTA Arts & Design
MTA Arts & Design commissions dynamic contemporary art for subway and commuter rail stations, creating memorable and lively environments for travelers.
Arts & Design builds upon the design mandate dating back to when the New York City subway was first constructed. On opening day in 1904, the founders declared the system a "great public work," for both the access and efficiency it would provide New Yorkers, and for the emphasis on creating an inviting space through beautiful ornamentation, craft, and good design. This emphasis is carried forward in Arts & Design's visual and performing arts programs, and design initiatives that contribute to the cultural vitality of the transit system, a place where millions come together each day.
In conjunction with a massive rehabilitation program launched in the 1980s, MTA Arts & Design was created in 1985 to oversee the selection of artists and installation of permanent artworks in subway and commuter rail stations. Arts & Design creates meaningful connections between stations, neighborhoods, and our diverse ridership through a broad spectrum of artistic activity, including permanent art, graphic art, photography installations, digital art, live musical performances, the Poetry in Motion program, and special events. Arts & Design also consults on architectural features within stations and subway cars, and other industrial design elements. Our permanent art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of site-specific public art in the world, with more than 330 works by world famous, mid-career, and emerging artists.
As you travel through the MTA network, you will experience a first-rate art museum comprising works created in mosaic, terra cotta, metal, glass, and mixed-media. You may hear music, read poetry, or enjoy illustrated posters in stations or rail cars. We invite you to discover and enjoy New York’s diverse and beautiful underground art museum.
Artwork credit: "Perasma I & II; Dappleganger" (2018) © Stephen Westfall. Located at 30 Av. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo: James and Karla Murray.
Arts & Design programs
Artists are selected through a competitive process to create original, site-specific permanent artwork for new and rehabilitated stations. Calls for Artists are listed here on our website, Submittable, social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram), national/local arts organizations, and arts councils. Professional artists who are interested in being considered for specific commission opportunities may check the Calls for Artists periodically.
Arts & Design invites new media artists to create digital artwork for MTA’s Fulton Center, and digital display network as opportunities arise. New Media artists who are interested in being considered may submit applications via Submittable during the annual Open Call.
MTA Music Audition
Arts & Design produces and exhibits posters through our Graphic Art program. Artwork must relate to New York City, its neighborhoods, or transit system, and be suitable for diverse audiences. Illustrators and graphic artists who want to be considered may send an email with the "Graphic Art" program area noted in the subject line to Arts & Design.
Arts & Design produces and exhibits photography through our Photography program. Artwork must relate to New York City, its neighborhoods or transit system and be suitable for diverse audiences. Photographers who want to be considered may send an email with the Photography" program area noted in the subject line to Arts & Design.