PS 234 art fence is restored

N. spotted it first: the artwork on the panels of fence that have surround the yard at PS 234 since 1988 have been restored and returned to the site — and they look great. I have to admit the cynic in me thought the School Construction Authority might not return them — so I am relieved to see them now, poised for installation. They were removed a year ago and restored off site as one part of the construction going on at the school, which is not scheduled to be finished until fall 2024.

The brilliant parade of silhouetted steel ships is a piece titled “Dreaming of Far Away Places: The Ships Come to Washington Square Market” by former Tribecan Donna Dennis. The project won New York City’s Art Commission Award for Excellence in Design. It includes 14 cut and welded steel panels as well as the 13 ceramic medallions mounted on the pillars between the fence lengths. Dennis intended it to honor the history of Washington Market, which operated on the site starting in 1812 and continued into the 1960s, but she also wanted it to inspire the imagination.

“I wanted to bring this history to life not only for the students but also for others in the community,” Dennis says in her own description of the piece. “I connected with my own childhood, a powerful source for my work, to create the kinds of images that would have set me dreaming then—dreaming of travelling into the past, into the future, travelling to distant places in the world and in my own imagination. My hope was that these images would set others to dreaming their own dreams.”



  1. I still see Donna around the ‘hood.

    • I’m glad to hear my fence has been restored! It really needed it.
      I didn’t know it had been removed for awhile. I used to see it all the time when I walked over to Whole Foods or Barnes and Noble or to swim at Stuyvesant High School. I moved upstate in June 2019 and haven’t been back to the neighborhood at all except several times to visit with friends who live just below Canal.

  2. The panels were taken out in June at the end of the school year. They were supposed to be returned by the start of school in September. They were only two months off schedule. Let’s hope the rest of the construction is only slightly off schedule.

  3. Those panels are the best part of the school, and that’s saying a lot with our sweet red door and toad and fly sculpture. Oh we miss 234!