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Museum of Broken Windows Opens, Exposing the Real Costs of Excessive Policing

NEW YORK CITYThe New York Civil Liberties Union today officially opened the Museum of Broken Windows, a free pop-up exhibition in New York City from April 28 to May 6 featuring over 70 artistic explorations of the dreams left unfulfilled by New York City’s reliance on policing to meet too many of our needs. Through creative expression, artists and visitors imagine what we could otherwise do with the $29M per day our city spends on the NYPD in order to create a truly safe, connected, and thriving city.

“29 Million Dreams” launches at a time when the New York City Council and Mayor are negotiating the city’s budget, including the billions spent each year on the NYPD, by far the largest police force in the country. Truck advertisements for the museum have encircled City Hall this week, ensuring the exhibition has been brought directly to the Adams administration’s attention.

“New York City spends a staggering 29 million dollars a day on policing. That’s because, rather than do the deep work of truly investing in systemic solutions, the city’s quick fix for every need has become police, police, and more police. We can’t ask or expect the NYPD to be the answer to everything from the lack of affordable housing or the dire shortage of mental health care, to even school discipline,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “With ‘29 Million Dreams,’ the NYCLU and renowned artists invite New Yorkers to imagine what even a part of the fortune we spend on policing could do to create the thriving city we dream of. As the Mayor and Council negotiate the city budget, they should break away from police-first problem solving, visit the Museum of Broken Windows, and make our dreams reality.”

Three years after the country’s largest racial justice protests demanded a reassessment of the role of policing in society, the Adams administration relies even more on the NYPD to be the catch-all response to our city’s complex and unmet needs. These range from homelessness and mental health to school discipline and low-level quality of life issues. Mayor Adams has proposed cutting libraries, parks, and classroom funding in order to balance his budget.

The Museum, which features preeminent artists from across the country, was co-curated by Daveen Trentman and Terrick Gutierrez. Artists include Andre Wagner, Brandan ‘Bmike’ Odum, Daniel Emuna, Devin Allen, Dread Scott, Eva G Woolridge, Fahamu Pecou, Felandus Thames, Dwayne Betts, Gabriel Chiu, Donna Grace Kroh, Jeff Gripe, Jesse Krimes, Keila Strong, Kisha Bari, Madjeen Isaac, Mark Clennon, Marcus Manganni, Mitchell S. Jackson, Nikkolas Smith, Russell Craig, Steven Eloiseau, Susan Chen, Terrick Gutierrez, Titus Kaphar and Tracey Hetzel. The museum will also feature commissioned performance pieces from UGBA, Sheela Ramesh and Justin Prescott. The exhibition was created and produced in partnership with the Soze Agency, with performance pieces curated and produced by Brandon Michael Nase and Ari Conte.

“I am honored to participate in the exhibition ‘29 Million Dreams.’ My work explores and chronicles the poetic and lyrical nuances of daily life, using New York City—including my neighborhood and community—as my subjects. My work and practice fits into the lineage of street photography that investigates the American social landscape, often focusing on themes of race, class, and cultural identity. It is urgent that we use art as a vehicle to showcase a vision of New York where communities have the resources they need to thrive and move away from over-reliance on the NYPD,” said artist Andre Wagner.

In 2018, the first Museum of Broken Windows asked what toll Broken Windows policing had taken on Black and Brown New Yorkers, and invited visitors to reflect on why the outdated policing strategy belonged in a museum rather than on our streets. Five years later with “29 Million Dreams,” visitors will engage with art that examines the ways our overreliance on policing not only fails to meet our needs, but also keeps us from investing in solutions that get to the roots of the problems we face.

“As we confront some of society’s most pressing questions, such as how to allocate the municipal budget, it is imperative that artists are at the forefront to help communicate, both visually and otherwise, the human impact of budgets and policy. The artists in “29 Million Dreams” will convey both the harm of current policing policies as well as the vibrance and beauty of communities, particularly communities who for far too long have been given police as their only resource,” said Daveen Trentman and Terrick Gutierrez, Co-Curators, the Soze Agency.

“29 Million Dreams,” is open April 28 through May 6, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day at 216 Lafayette Street. Admission is free.

Learn more about “29 Million Dreams” at

“29 Million Dreams” was made possible through generous support from Brooklyn event space Carroll Hall and Robin G. Willner.


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