This year, New York City was explored and interpreted by an artist who captured the beauty of city life with works that ranged from quirky to majestic.

Street artist J.R. hails from France, but has recently gifted the US with beautiful art installations and films centered around the cultural mecca of New York City. His artwork contains reoccurring motifs: eyes, black and white color schemes, interpretations of cultural tensions, dance, and the beauty of humanity.

The Huffington Post recently highlighted an art installation created directly on the walls of a building on Franklin Street: A fifty-foot ballerina seemingly caught mid-leap, her white tutu fluffing out around her and her feet perfectly pointed in her pointe shoes.

This ballerina recalls a nearly identical dancer in J.R.’s film “Les Bosquets” released at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. In the film, dancers from New York City Ballet interpret J.R.’s experience of the 2005 riots in the French suburbs.

Every art installation created by JR is meant to invoke feeling and compassion between humans. His project “Inside Out” from 2012 centered around portraits of everyday individuals all over the globe: JR says, “Can art change the world?” He pauses for a moment, “Maybe not in one year; that’s the beginning. But maybe we should change the question: Can art change people’s life? From what I’ve seen this year, yes.”

Adrienne is a junior at George Fox University. She grew up writing stories and training in classical ballet, and now she studies English and hopes to use art and the written word to create positive change in her world.