Tattfoo Tan's mural "Remember to Take Your Daily Dose of Color," a temporary installation sponsored by the Times Square Alliance and the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, was unveiled yesterday at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The artwork, which will remain on display through October, is a checkerboard of hundreds of brightly colored squares — each about 1 square foot, stretching 10 squares high — illuminating the façade of the infamously drab bus terminal. Mr. Tan used Photoshop to perfectly replicate the color of a fruit or vegetable for each square. A legend on the Eighth Avenue side of the terminal matches each color with its food source.
"This particular project is about health," Mr. Tan, wearing a white chef's apron at the unveiling, said. The artist said that viewers are meant to take in the energy generated by the bright colors the same way they would the vitamins and nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables. Mr. Tan said he was motivated by the obesity problem in America, and hopes his mural will "inspire the public to eat healthy and eat fresh."
To further cement the food association, fresh fruit was handed out to passersby during yesterday's unveiling reception. Mr. Tan installed a similar mural, with the same concept, under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn in February. That mural will remain on display until January 9.
The Port Authority project cost the Times Square Alliance and the Fashion Center BID a total of $26,000, $6,000 of which went to the artist. The mural is part of an "effort to revitalize Eighth Avenue and get people to start thinking of it differently," the executive director of the Fashion Center BID, Barbara Randall, said. Ten years ago, the terminal "would also have been described as colorful and lively, but maybe not in a way that one would write home about," the president of the Time Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, said.
Mr. Tan's mural will not be the only attempt to bring cultural projects to the venue. A live music program called "Tunes in the Terminal" will run throughout the summer, within the confines of the station. The Fashion Center BID and the Times Square Alliance have also proposed public art installations at other construction sites along Eighth Avenue, but no plans have been finalized.