CUP makes educational projects about places and how they change.
Our projects bring together art and design professionals - artists, graphic designers, architects, urban planners - with community-based advocates and researchers - organizers, government officials, academics, service-providers and policymakers. These partners work with CUP staff to create projects ranging from high school curricula to educational exhibitions.
Our work grows from a belief that the power of imagination is central to the practice of democracy, and that the work of governing must engage the dreams and visions of citizens. CUP believes in the legibility of the world around us. What can we learn by investigation? By learning how to investigate, we train ourselves to change what we see.
In 1997, CUP launched its first project, a small booklet entitled "A How-To Guidebook for Urban Objects." At that time, CUP was an informal group of people with diverse backgrounds but a shared interest in making interpretive projects about the city. Since then, CUP has grown organically as a vehicle for collaboration. CUP received its 501(c)(3) designation in 2002 and hired its first fulltime staff members in 2005.
CUP has organized or participated in exhibitions at Storefront for Art and Architecture, Anthology Film Archives, Apex Art Curatorial Program, City University of New York Graduate Center, and PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York; Mess Hall and the Chicago Architecture Foundation in Chicago; and Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna.
CUP has worked with nonprofits such as Sustainable South Bronx, Place In History, the Municipal Arts Society, the Fifth Avenue Committee, REPOHistory, Temporary Services, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Global Kids, the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), the Public Housing Residents of the Lower East Side (PHROLES), the Legal Aid Society, the Community Service Society of New York, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, the Fiscal Policy Institute, the Met Council on Housing, the New York City Public Housing Residents Alliance.
CUP has worked with over 700 students since 2001, working in city-run Tier II shelters, City-As-School, the Academy of Urban Planning, Math and Science Upward Bound, the Heritage School, Monroe High School, Parsons the New School School of Design, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Wyckoff Houses, and PS 164.
Exhibition: "Lost futures of Governors Island"
A zany and sobering exploration of the Governors Island that could have been. Damon Rich, CUP’s Creative Director, will present a series of unrealized plans for the 172-acre island, which was used a military installation for over 200 years. The plans date from the turn of the 19th century to the turn of the 20th, and include a luxury housing complex, 2000-foot antenna, homeless shelter, casino, and airport. The lecture will examine the rise and fall of these schemes, and how they have left their mark on the Governors Island of today and tomorrow.
Interview: "Q&A: Civic Boosters: With lively exhibitions and a tongue-in-cheek walking tour, the Center for Urban Pedagogy urges individuals to actively shape their city."
Project: "Code City"
This Code City module examines some of the issues involved in the public administration of the built environment. It focuses on an extreme example of public administration - the 170,000 units of public housing administered by the New York City Housing Authority - and its relationship to racial segregation.
This website will provide a number of educational documents - interactive maps, databases, legal texts, and interpretive essays - to provoke you the viewer to engage issues of how a society should decide on the shape of its environment and the distribution of its amenities and citizens.
Article: "Deciphering the City’s Hidden Code"
Exhibition: "Shadow Cabinets in a Bright Country" curated by Ted Purves
Invites a selection of artist collaboratives to create projects that seek to fill holes left in the social sphere by the retreat of government interest and support.
September 5 - October 5, 2002
Collaboratives: Temporary Services, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Marksearch, Nuts Society, and It Can Change
Presentation: MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies