Driving Ms. Daisy
Gardens in Transit will cover more than 13,000 New York City cabs in colorful flowers, one of the largest public art projects in history.
Two years ago, the artists Christo and Jean-Claude turned Central Park into a massive art installation with "The Gates," but that accomplishment will soon be dwarfed by one of the largest pieces of public art in the world. For the final four months of 2007, a project called Garden in Transit will cover more than 13,000 of New York's ubiquitous yellow cabs with nearly 14 football fields-worth of multicolored flower decals painted by 30,000 children and adults in New York's schools, youth programs, and hospitals."It will transform the visual environment of one of the world's premier cities," says Bernie Massey, who, along with his brother Ed, founded the nonprofit Portraits of Hope in 1995. The organization's mission is to enrich the lives of children, especially those with terminal illnesses or physical disabilities, by employing them as artists on large-scale projects.The flower project required six years of negotiation with city officials, who feared that if the idea went forward, a taxicab free-for-all would ensue, with other groups clamoring to use the same iconic yellow canvases. The solution? Garden in Transit officially celebrates the centennial of New York's taxis. No one will be able to paint them again for another hundred years.PAINTING Other objects Portraits of Hope has covered with flowers: a blimp, a plane, an air-traffic-control tower, and a tugboat.LEARN MORE portraitsofhope.org