Arrive, Depart, & Be Inspired

Posted by Constance White On April - 13 - 2011

Constance White

What is entailed in an airport art program?

Most days, my attention at work is focused on the logistics of temporary installations and managing our public art program. Twelve projects will be unveiled with the opening of the airport expansion program (the Green Build).

During this design build process, art and the building are on the same schedule and ideally all of us should play fair in the sandbox.

As many of you know, collaboration is not always easy. Most of the artists were under contract before spaces were defined for art. This has been easier for some than others. It is a tenuous line.

What comes first…The art? The building? The chicken or the egg?   Read the rest of this entry »

Florida Public Art: Leading the Way in Organizational Unity Since 1998

Posted by Christopher Hubbard On April - 12 - 2011

Christopher Hubbard

When things get tough sometimes the best thing to have is a friend in the business.

With budget cuts, dwindling staff, and a slow-down in municipal and private construction, it’s comforting to know that other programs are going through the same stress and surviving; sometimes even thriving!

It’s these relationships that keep us up to speed on what’s happening in the world of public art, and often how to make the most of the obstacles and opportunities that find us on a daily basis.

That’s exactly what Florida’s public art programs are doing, and they have been reaping the benefits of such since 1998 with the founding of FAPAP, the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals.  FAPAP is the brainchild of a number of Florida’s forward-thinking public art administrators, including Vincent Ahern, Barbara Hill, and Jan Stein.

Working off the model of the Public Art Coalition of Southern California, their idea was to create a unified group of public art programs for the state of Florida; a forum to discuss issues related to the field.   Read the rest of this entry »

Embedded in Transportation

Posted by Vaughn Bell On April - 12 - 2011

Vaughn Bell

For the last couple years I have been the “staff artist” in the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), working on arts planning and as liaison for the 1% for art program and integrating design enhancements on SDOT projects.

I connect with a wide range of projects, from multi-modal trails and sidewalks to large bridges, and seek opportunities to incorporate art into the right-of-way.

I am embedded in the DOT offices, with a desk alongside the project managers in the Capital Projects and Roadway Structures Division.

In my art practice outside of the SDOT art role, I create immersive environments and installations, often involving living plants, which touch on our often paradoxical relationship to land and environment. How people relate to the urban spaces they inhabit and move through is always of interest to me.

In one project, I created a portable version of Mt. Rainier on a leash, available for walks in the city and accompanied by its own mountain soundtrack.   Read the rest of this entry »

“Apping” Your Collection

Posted by Danielle Davis On April - 12 - 2011

Public Art PDX App

Have you ever forgotten your iPhone at home and spent the rest of the day wishing it had been your left arm instead?

Whether or not you have embraced smartphones, they have become a fundamental part of the American lifestyle.

In ten years, all cell phones will be smartphones, and every user will expect to be able to instantly access any information they want.

So how do public art programs keep up with this trend? How do we make our collections present in the virtual world?

The answer is both simple and complex.

When it comes to utilizing technology, the possibilities for showcasing our collections are endless.

There are so many possibilities that it becomes very easy to set ourselves up for failure. It becomes too costly, too daunting, and too labor intensive. And for struggling programs, the idea of taking it on usually doesn’t even get off the ground.

However, in the midst of all of the complications, it is easy to forget that stepping into the virtual world begins with a basic foundation—it starts with data. That is to say, good data. Websites and apps are only as good as the data they use. You could spend thousands of dollars developing an app, but if the content is inconsistent or missing, then the money is wasted.

Recently at the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in Portland, OR, we were presented with the opportunity to showcase our collection on an iPhone app.   Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping Copyright

Posted by Sarah Conley On April - 12 - 2011

Sarah Conley

Interest in copyright issues has changed dramatically in the last 10 years due to more awareness of the potential value in intellectual property.

No doubt much of the new focus has trickled down from the digital development of corporate entities better able to direct resources to intellectual property protection than the average artist.

The rise in popularity of hedge funds collecting fine art also contributed to the growing consciousness of the value of protecting creative works.

Certainly, some creative works serve the artistic and scientific community better if they are freely available for use and part of the public domain. And those who wish to purposely place their work into the public domain regardless of the communal value should be free to do so.

However, intellectual property ownership is often one of the few things artists can use as currency in negotiating compensation for projects. Thus, it is imperative that artists do what they can to maintain ownership of as much of their intellectual property as possible.   Read the rest of this entry »

Bridges, Archaeology, & Public Art

Posted by Leo Berk On April - 12 - 2011

In King County, WA, building roads and bridges gets us closer to understanding our region’s prehistoric time.

I found this out by taking a drive with Tom Minichillo who is the archaeologist for King County Road Services Division (which insiders just call “Roads”.)

As we were driving out to the active “dig” that Tom needed to check in on, he explained that whenever the county does road work in an area that could be an archaeological site, they dig a scattering of holes and sift through the dirt to see if anything comes up.

If they do find something, typically it’s little shards of rock that are the remnants of tool making.

These pieces can be very small, so they sift lots of dirt through ¼” screens to see what they can find. If they find enough of these shards in the test holes, then they dig a larger hole where they think they’ll find the most objects.   Read the rest of this entry »

Survey Says: Local Arts Agencies & Public Art

Posted by Mitch Menchaca On April - 12 - 2011

Mitch Menchaca

A local arts agency (LAA) promotes, supports, and develops the arts at the local level to strengthen the daily fabric of community living.

Each LAA is as unique as the community it serves and they all share the goal of enabling diverse forms of arts and culture to thrive, ensuring that they are available to every member of that community.

A local arts agency can be a private enterprise or an agency of local government that presents programming to the public, provides services to artists and arts organizations, develops and manages cultural facilities, awards grants to artists and arts organizations, organizes and participates in cultural planning, and/or promotes and creates cultural policy.

Local arts agencies are referred to by an array of names: arts commissions, arts councils, arts and humanities councils, arts and business councils, arts alliances, cultural alliances, departments of recreation and cultural affairs, offices of cultural affairs, arts funds, etc.   Read the rest of this entry »

Leo Berk

From Leo’s journal as mentioned in a previous post:

If you’ve driven around King County, WA, in the last five months, there’s a good chance you drove right over me.

I’m in the research phase of my project and have been underneath, as well as above and beside, many of the county’s inventory of bridges with a variety of Bridge Unit personnel.

I’ve been soaking up all the different perspectives—environmental, design, engineering, historical, maintenance—that I can about the many different kinds of bridges in the many different settings that we have here.

Last week, for example, King County Bridge Unit Engineer Jesse Jose took me out into the remote forest in eastern King County to visit the site where the Sunday Creek Bridge is being rebuilt, using funding from a federal grant.

Environmental Engineer Ron Melnikoff also joined us on the trip so that he could observe all of the environmental codes are being met concerning the creek during construction.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Embedded Artists

Posted by Tina Hoggat On April - 11 - 2011

In 2009, Public Art 4culture commissioned artist Leo Berk to develop a public art ‘kit of parts’ for short span bridges in King County, WA.

Berk worked collaboratively with the King County Bridge Unit to understand the function of short span bridges and explore design possibilities for bridge elements.

His residency included an extended period of learning the culture of the Bridge Unit, work methods and safety conventions as well as time spent in the field with engineers, ecologists, and archeologists.

In design phase, Berk worked with Bridge Unit staff to identify materials and bridge elements that would be feasible to use and easy to install.   Read the rest of this entry »

On the Street with Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO

Posted by Penny Balkin Bach On April - 11 - 2011

Temporary promotional signage at Three-Way Piece Number 1: Points (1964), Henry Moore

Public art can be one of a city’s most overlooked and under-appreciated cultural assets; but it’s also an ideal introductory cultural experience because it’s accessible “on the street,” visible at any time, free to all, and diverse in content – no tickets, no barriers, no time limits.

We created the Fairmount Park Art Association’s Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program in Philadelphia to call attention to these works of art – always on view, but often unobserved.

We wanted to appeal broadly to culture seekers as well as non-traditional arts audiences by making engagement with public art fascinating, informative, rewarding, and fun.

Reaching the “spontaneous user” – our defined target group – represents an extraordinary opportunity unique to public art. This person typically has not planned ahead, paid a museum admission, or signed up in advance for a cultural tour.

The program so far has 35 stops for 51 sculptures feature nearly 100 “voices” from all walks of life, including: artists, educators, curators, scientists, writers, historians, civic leaders, and family members – all with personal connections to the sculptures.

We developed an “authentic voice” model, which distinguishes our audio program from others that feature a single guide, narrator or interpreter. Listening is almost like eavesdropping into a fascinating conversation.    Read the rest of this entry »

PANopoly – Welcome to the Public Art Salon

Posted by Liesel Fenner On April - 11 - 2011

Liesel Fenner

Welcome to the Public Art Network (PAN) Blog Salon!

Blazing and buzzing all this week, join us as public art professionals from across the country discuss all-things public art.

In particular, we will be highlighting topics of the upcoming Public Art Preconference, “Innovations in Infrastucture,” June 15-16, in San Diego.

Feel free to forward the blog posts to others, comment, and/or Tweet – Let’s broaden the network of conversation and community.

We hear a lot about the term ‘infrastructure’ these days. The Preconference will be discussing how public art is incorporated in a myriad of types of infrastructure, including not only our built environment, but also media, the changes in how public art is reviewed and critiqued; social, the community involvement that informs the art itself.   Read the rest of this entry »