Americans for the Arts programs Blog Salons to focus attention on a particular arts topic to generate discussion through online responses: comments, follow-up posts, Tweets, Facebook comments, etc.
While many of us find it challenging to keep up with daily email, much less blogs and our social media accounts, there are a few questions we repeatedly see posted on the Public Art Network (PAN) listserv:
“Does anyone have a sample public art evaluation report?” or “Are there are any public art and economic impact studies?”
After the question is asked the listserv goes silent, no one replies.
The goal of our Blog Salon this week is to turn up the volume and encourage as many contributions of ideas on how the field (PAN, you, me, we) can approach public art evaluation.
We have invited a variety of public art professionals—both administrators and artists—to participate in the Salon with their ideas on how we measure public art programs, projects, or both.
We will hear from arts leaders who are experimenting with ideas on how to measure an art form that is elusive to traditional measurement tools. Artwork that resides in public space.
How do count audience viewers?
Are they actually viewers when passers-by may or may not even notice the work?
Should we approach the general public and measure their reaction to the work?
What was is the scale of work? A landmark, iconic work, or perhaps temporary?
Is the artwork incorporated into a larger urban design or architectural context?
The most vexing challenge as we approach evaluation: What exactly are we measuring? Why are we measuring it? What are the goals of evaluating public art and what impacts are we seeking?
This past spring semester, I participated in an architecture and planning class at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VTech) with PAN serving as the “client” for students to develop model approaches to public art evaluation.
During this Salon we will hear from Professor Elizabeth Morton and Angela Adams, public art administrator for Arlington, VA, as well as one of the students. PAN Council Member Lajos Heder will blog from the artist perspective on how audience should contribute feedback during the artmaking process that would in turn affect outcomes. Penny Balkin Bach of the Fairmount Park Art Association (Philadelphia) discusses social media tools including a new app extolling that qualitative information—stories—are as important than statistics and quantitative data.
It’s time to dig in, roll-up our sleeves, and think deeply as the Salon proceeds this week.
Your input will inform PAN’s next steps in developing an evaluation model for the field.
We need your RFP—we request you to participate.