Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York

Percent for Art

   Jorge Luis Rodriguez

Growth, 1985, Painted steel



Completion Date:



Painted steel


14' x 11' x 9'


East Harlem Artpark


Sylvan Place and East 120th Street


Housing Preservation and Development Open Spaces Program

Sponsor Agency:

Department of Parks and Recreation

Design Agency:

Department of Parks and Recreation


Dedicated in 1985, Jorge Rodriguez's Growth was the first project completed by the Percent for Art Program. Growth rises directly from the cobblestones of the East Harlem Artpark, a park created by combining Sylvan Place and a formerly dilapidated park between the landmark Harlem Courthouse and The Casabe Houses, a housing project for senior citizens. As stated in Hispanic Arts News, "It is intended to portray a metamorphosis taking place. The inter-relationship of the sculpture is part of the surroundings in the park and is intended to echo the metaphor of life." The sculpture's flowing shapes, at once reminiscent of plants, birds, and insects, reinforce the theme of renewal inherent in this park.

About the Artist...
Jorge Luis Rodriguez, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was educated at the School of Visual Arts and New York University. An active art educator in New York City, he teaches at the School of Visual Arts, Manhattan Community College, and Kingsborough Community College. He has also worked with The Studio Museum in Harlem, Just Above Midtown Gallery, the Association for Hispanic Arts, and El Museo del Barrio to develop art programs for all ages. Growth was his first large-scale, permanent work.

Artist Quote...
I have tried to capture the interaction between trees, birds, insects, flowers, and man. My sculpture may portray a seed sprouting from the ground, an insect transforming into a flower, or a bird changing into a tree. I hope to create an art piece that will serve as a source of enjoyment and inspiration to the community. -- Rodriguez, 1985