• Topic
  • Ambassador
  • Green Paper
  • Resources
  • Follow

THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART

This Green Paper, submitted by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network, addresses why Public Art is important, the challenges presented the field of Public Art, and some proposed strategies for overcoming challenges, both now and in the future.

Green Paper Authoring Organizations: Americans for the Arts Public Art Network

THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART AMBASSADOR

Constance White
Art Program Manager
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
San Diego, CA

Constance Y. White is Art Program Manager for the San Diego International Airport.  Since her appointment in July 2006, she has successfully completed the Airport Art Master Plan, which includes a framework and guidelines for the three components of the Airport Art Program: Temporary and Rotating Exhibits, Performing Arts and Public Art.  In her previous position as Public Art Program Coordinator for the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs (1997-2006), Ms. White managed projects with budget ranging from $3,000 - over $1 million, many of which were design team collaborations resulting in integration of public art into the city's infrastructure.  Arts-based community development and community partnerships were important to the success of the many projects she has managed.  Constance Y. White has served as a panel member for Mid-America Arts Alliance/FORECAST among others.  She holds a BFA in Art History from Southern Methodist University and is an exhibiting artist.

 

Original THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART Green Paper:

THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART (pdf, 62KB)

THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART

Websites:

Documents:

Feed on THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART:

Subscribe to the THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART post feed

Follow the THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC ART discussion by Email:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

In this month’s ArtNews magazine, I read a book review covering In Curating: Interviews WithTen International Curators. Carolee Thea, author of the book, quoted one curator who shared his innate perspective that, curators are mediators between artists and the public. I couldn’t help but think, isn’t that what I do (at least part of what I do)?

For the last day-point-five, I have been attending the Arts in the Airport workshop presented by the American Association of Airport Executives. I posed these question over cheese and berries last night, do Public Art Administrators think of themselves as curators? Are we curators? The question evoked/provoked some rather lively discussion. We really delved into the highs and lows of elitism, juxtaposed the field of museology and shared challenging views of how the two fields compare.

How do you see yourself as a public art administrator? What do you think is your obligation to the public? What do you think is your responsibility to artists?

Tagged with: |

View all Public Art Posts

14 Responses to “Are public art administrators curators?”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hmmm. There is some level of curation that occurs in the management of the public art collection, but the selection of works usually involves a selection panel that includes representatives of the public/community in which the artwork is sited. I think that “facilitator” would be a better description.

    • Dana Springs says:

      My thoughts exactly.
      If I’m going to advertise myself as an art curator, I should get a lot more schooling.
      I’m a business person who works in the arts field. And proud of it!

  2. This is an interesting question Constance. Having been trained as a museum/exhibitions curator in a Masters program and working primarily with artists who create art in the public sphere as an art and nature curator, I feel much more oriented toward collaborating with the artist. I like to use my resources as a curator to help the artist do their best work. My curatorial education was a studio design degree and my undergraduate degree is business administration. I see the management of the art work separate from the creative collaboration with the artist. It has been my experience as a panelist for public art administrators that many feel uncomfortable working collaborative with the artist. As if giving input as to the size/scale/siting/level of interactivity, etc. is seen as politically incorrect.

  3. Julia Moore says:

    Having been a curator for about 15 years before I was a public art administrator, I would say that a public art administrator is not a curator except in the “caring for the art” sense. Although we all do some curatorial-type functions (notably interpretation of the artist’s intention for the benefit of the public), a true curator selects artwork and artists specifically in order to elicit some kind of dialogue between the artist and the public.

    Most public art administrators do not select the art. In my role as a public art consultant I do get the opportunity to select artists and work to make a “match” between artist and Owner, but as a project administrator I take what I am given by the selection panel or committee.

    • Hi Julia,

      I wear two hats as a curator and a public arts administrator. I run a small public arts organization. For a long time, I denied that I was a curator. Our society likes to put people in boxes. Boundaries are important but there is plenty of room for collaboration. It’s important for curators and artists to understand the limitations that administrators have to impose sometimes. It’s a juggling act. But I think curators are changing. It’s no longer about putting art in white boxes anymore which opens up new opportunities, interpretations and new voices. We should be expanding the art world instead of having a few people control it all.

  4. We are all the center of our universe! Curators think they mediate; critics say they are the core of art practice. Then there are the academics, collectors and historians. Artists – only me? – site the artwork is the mediator between artist and public.

    ‘Curate’ is a verb in the middle of a make over.

    My experience is that public art administrators ‘curate’ (aka select/ prioritize / contextualize) sites, aesthetics and committees then work with the contracted artist, giving feedback, perspective and parameters to shape the project.
    Can we curate artists as well as artworks?

  5. Hello Constance,

    I do believe that you all play a role as curators for the public’s art collection. You have a direct or indirect impact on the eventual collection.

    Regarding responsibility to the public, that is a big topic. I do think that we should use public art more as a way to promote and inspire behaviors for the public good and community good — along with dialog and aesthetic enhancements.

  6. Meghan Turner says:

    Interpreting this term broadly, the “curation” of a public art collection could take the form of consciously directing public art opportunities that serve to “fill in gaps” of a collection (i.e., more work of a particular medium, or temporary vs. perm, interactive/functional, etc.). This attempt to create a well-rounded, diverse collection usually happens via the discourse that shapes a project opportunity, sometimes in collaboration with project stakeholders. I’m not sure it can be a decision or function of one person (the public art administrator, for the purposes of this question) — however enviable that degree of freedom sometimes appears to those of us who work in the world of routine collaboration!

    Great food for thought.

  7. Kelly says:

    Hello Constance,

    I do believe that you all play a role as curators for the public’s art collection. You have a direct or indirect impact on the eventual collection.

    Regarding responsibility to the public, that is a big topic. I do think that we should use public art more as a way to promote and inspire behaviors for the public good and community good — along with dialog and aesthetic enhancements.

  8. Jeff says:

    Interpreting this term broadly, the “curation” of a public art collection could take the form of consciously directing public art opportunities that serve to “fill in gaps” of a collection (i.e., more work of a particular medium, or temporary vs. perm, interactive/functional, etc.). This attempt to create a well-rounded, diverse collection usually happens via the discourse that shapes a project opportunity, sometimes in collaboration with project stakeholders. I’m not sure it can be a decision or function of one person (the public art administrator, for the purposes of this question) — however enviable that degree of freedom sometimes appears to those of us who work in the world of routine collaboration!

    Great food for thought.

  9. Tony says:

    Hello Constance,

    I do believe that you all play a role as curators for the public’s art collection. You have a direct or indirect impact on the eventual collection.

    Regarding responsibility to the public, that is a big topic. I do think that we should use public art more as a way to promote and inspire behaviors for the public good and community good — along with dialog and aesthetic enhancements.

  10. Christopher says:

    Hello Constance,

    I do believe that you all play a role as curators for the public’s art collection. You have a direct or indirect impact on the eventual collection.

    Regarding responsibility to the public, that is a big topic. I do think that we should use public art more as a way to promote and inspire behaviors for the public good and community good — along with dialog and aesthetic enhancements.

  11. Eric says:

    Hello Constance,

    I do believe that you all play a role as curators for the public’s art collection. You have a direct or indirect impact on the eventual collection.

    Regarding responsibility to the public, that is a big topic. I do think that we should use public art more as a way to promote and inspire behaviors for the public good and community good — along with dialog and aesthetic enhancements.

  12. This page has a range of information about the role of a curator, which is an evolving field like any other. http://www.answers.com/topic/curator

Join the Green Paper discussion.

Use the Comment Box Below to Participate in Three Ways:

  1. Do you agree or disagree with dialogue that is taking place, why or why not?
  2. What would you add, delete, or change?
  3. What critical question(s) are not being addressed that you would like to see?

*