Thursday, January 8, 2015

Avian Avatars

Colossal Birds Fly to Garment District for the Winter

Flock of Massive Sculptures by the Myth Makers is the Next
Public Art Installation on the Garment District Plazas

NEW YORK, January 9, 2015 – The Garment District Alliance  will unveil Avian Avatars, a group of five enormous sculptures, each symbolizing a unique, mythical bird that will captivate New Yorkers and visitors on Broadway’s Garment District Plazas this winter.

Designed by the Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, the exhibit will occupy the neighborhood’s pedestrian space on Broadway from 36th to 41st Streets in the Garment District through April.

Avian Avatars is a spectacular installation that not only intrigues passersby with its impeccable structure, it also tells fascinating stories that embody the imaginative and creative culture of the Garment District,” said Barbara Blair Randall, president of the Garment District Alliance. “We are delighted to showcase the Myth Makers, and we are confident these imposing sculptures will be the most popular public art installation in New York City this winter.”

Crafted from maple saplings, wire ties and found objects, the sculptures stand from 18 to 26 feet tall, with each bird sharing a unique myth. Avian Avatars is meant to indicate transformation, encouraging the public to heed to the stories about current human impact on the changing natural world.

The Tourist : A Victoria Crowned Pigeon. @ Broadway between 36th and 37th.
 Visitors drawn to the vibrant city shape culture with their impulsive consumer behavior.

“Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from.”

-Malcolm Gladwell

The Realist: A Red-Tailed Hawk. @ Broadway between 37th and 38th

Everyone has a killer instinct, a desire to fly and an ambition to achieve their fifteen minutes of fame.

“When it comes to luck, you make your own.” -Bruce Springstein

The Taste Maker : A Falcon. @ Broadway between 38th and 39th.

An uncompromising harbinger of taste, the critic is not a populist.

“The truth is not for all ... but only for those who seek it.” -Ayn Rand

The Great Spirit : An Owl. @ Broadway between 39th and 40th.
A humble leader embraces the strengths and weaknesses of humanity, 

and inspires from a spiritual perspective.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can [each] do small things with great love.”
-Mother Teresa

The Scold : A Crow, @ Broadway between 40th and 41st
A raucous chatterbox has an opinion on everything.

“I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life...”
-Henry David Thoreau

In addition to the art work on the plaza, The Myth Makers are working in conjunction with the Garment District Alliance to bring some very exciting public programs to the plaza this winter. Please join them for the following events:

Saturday January 10th @ noon. Join the Myth Makers for a crisp winter adventure! Be some of the first to see these commissioned sculptures along Broadway in the historic Garment District. Walk with the artists and talk about their ambitions for these major pieces, the materials they employ and how the partnership between two independently successful artists contributes to a teamed concept.

Saturday Feb 14th @ 3p- Valentine's Day Sculpture, Chocolate and Roses. Join the Myth Makers for a midwinter excursion onto Broadway. Come as a couple or come alone but there will be roses and chocolate for all who RSVP! Chat with Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein as you study the work. Stroll glove in glove and enjoy the heartwarming attributes of well sited sculptures in a wintery city scape. ALL romantic souls are invited to hear the Myths of the Avian Avatars. Both artists will be present to share your impressions and their chocolate!

Saturday March 7th @ 10am- If you are in town for the Armory Week Art Fairs – or you have never been – you SHOULD! The Myth Makers will be presenting an early morning tour of the Avian Avatars on Broadway. Start the most exciting weekend in NYC arts with a burst of monumental outdoor sculpture. Meet The Myth Makers in person at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at 10am dressed for the weather.

Wednesday March 25th TWO exceptional events:
3p The Myth Makers will provide a behind the scenes conversation about the staging and presentation of their Avian Avatars along Broadway’s Garment District.
6p-8pm The iconic Artists Talk on Art (ATOA) panel at the Jefferson Public Library (6th Ave & 9th St.) in New York City. Join us at a panel discussion on Temporary Public art projects (followed by Q&A)

Friday April 24th- International Sculpture Day 2015!
Artist Talk and Tour

If you have missed Avian Avatars and the Myth Makers in New York City, this is the last day to meet the artists and discuss the challenges and joys of team art making. Join the dynamic collaborative, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein for the closing events at either 5p or 7p. Walk through with artists followed by tea/coffee and conversation at 
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

All walks meet at 
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf 1412 Broadway, New York, NY and leave promptly. DRESS for being outdoors for 45 minutes! In severe weather you can keep up to date with these events, by reaching out to The Myth Makers on email, or by finding The Myth Makers on facebook.

About the Myth Makers:
The collaboration between Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein is born from a mutual love of the wild, taking inspiration from events in the natural world and the mysterious nature of animals. Both artists have presented public work throughout the world in unusual locations and familiar haunts, and their affection for site specificity and working with an audience is evident in this series of monumental sculptures.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College, Donna has been honored with solo shows nationwide. She regularly contributes articles to newspapers, magazines and blogs that demonstrate the economic impact and global reach of the arts sector. Donna has participated in various exhibitions including the Verbier 3D Foundation’s Artist Residency and Sculpture Park in the Swiss Alps, the Fountain Art Fair NYC in the historic 69th Regiment Armory Building, a residency in Cusco Peru at the Escuela de Bellas Artes, and she has been invited back to Qorikancha in Cusco Peru to participate in a residency with Andy Moerlein as the Myth Makers this year.

An arts advocate, gallery director and educator for over 30 years, Andy’s work has been displayed in art museums, sculpture gardens and private galleries from Alaska to New York. He has participated in various exhibitions including the Verbier 3D Foundation’s Artist Residency and Sculpture Park in the Swiss Alps, he was the Artist in Residence at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts, and he worked in residence in Cusco Peru and produced work for exhibitions at the Qorikancha Museum. With a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Cornell University, Andy has been a teacher and gallery director at the Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire, for 20 years.

Avian Avatars is the latest in the ongoing Garment District Art on the Plazas series of public art installations, which has also included Sidewalk Catwalk, Tour de Fashion, Figurations, Broadway Green, Five Elements and, most recently, The Sentinels.

Garment District Art on the Plazas is made possible through Arterventions, part of the Department of Transportation’s Art Program. The Garment District Alliance and DOT work closely to coordinate the exhibit and install the pieces, which enhance the public plazas and make them even more welcoming to New Yorkers and visitors alike.

The Garment District is home to thousands of people working in the "creative economy,” including fine and performing artists, designers, architects, photographers and more than a hundred theaters, galleries, performance spaces and studios.

Please direct media inquiries to Jennifer Passaretti of The Marino Organization at 212-889-0808 or For more information on the Garment District Space for Public Art, please visit

About the Garment District Alliance
The Garment District Alliance (, formerly the Fashion Center BID, is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1993 to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of Manhattan’s Garment District. Through programs in the areas of streetscape improvements, sanitation and public safety, marketing and promotions, economic development, and community service, the Garment District Alliance supports the neighborhood’s transformation into a modern, 24/7 destination for dining, nightlife, hotels and unique office space.  For more information on the Garment District Alliance’s many art initiatives, please visit

Update: Paula Ogier featured the story of this project on her blog, Boston Artist on January 5, 2015. Luciana Iten covered the story on her blog, Jan 6, 2015. Art Daily covered this story on January 8, 2015. Brian Goslow covered this story in the current issue of Artscope Magazine. WWDDNA Info and Fox News covered this story on January 9, 2015. Artlog covered this story on January 16, 2015. As Muge blog covered this story on January 21, 2015. This Week in New York covered this story on February 10th. The Hippo Press covered this story on February 12, 2015.