DSNY program promotes sustainability while bringing art to NYC neighborhoods


Seth Granville | Flickr

Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, Editor-In-Chief

The New York City Department of Sanitation opened applications for the second year of “Trucks for Art,” a public program that selects artists to paint murals on the city’s garbage trucks.

The program seeks to benefit local sanitation workers, artists and citizens. Not only do the beautified garbage trucks create a more enjoyable environment for locals, DSNY wants the painted trucks to act as tangible reminders not to litter.

“Sanitation’s fleet is part of our cityscape – and we’re thrilled for New York City artists to transform collection trucks into roving works of art that will add a bit of flair to our neighborhoods,” Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation,  Jessica Tisch, said in a DSNY press release. “We’re excited for local artists to be using our ‘canvasses’ to encourage New Yorkers to keep our City clean.”

DSNY is specifically looking for artists from across all the boroughs to represent the different communities within NYC.

Interested participants must complete and email a Request for Expressions of Interest form, a brief description of their idea with design mock-ups and why they’d like to be selected. They must also include theircontact information and a short biography, all emailed to TrashTalk@dsny.nyc.gov before Sept. 18 to be considered.

Through the application reviewal process, DSNY will specifically select artists whose concepts pay homage to sanitation workers.

“Priority will be given to proposals that encourage New Yorkers to use litter baskets and recycling or those that honor DSNY’s Essential Workers,” the department said.

“Trucks for Art” continues its focus on sustainability by having its artists use household paints that would otherwise go to landfills. This decision makes the initiative a “zero waste” project.

DSNY has said that New Yorkers can drop their unwanted paints at SAFE Disposal Events or at Special Waste Drop-off Locations to support the program.

“Trucks for Art” first debuted in 2019 and garnered applications from across the globe. The initiative led to the creation of five vibrant collection vehicles.

“We’re experiencing a global garbage problem, and I designed my mural to make people think about the beauty of our environment – and how their recycling can impact a positive future,” 2019-artist Lady K-Fever said. “Putting this design on a Sanitation truck also reminds people just who helps them take care of our environment – DSNY!”

Artists selected to participate in the initiative will not be paid but will be provided with a workspace, paint and tools. They will have three 7-hour workdays to paint their vehicle.

The public will be able to view the artists’ finished trucks at a media event in mid-October, Time Out reported.