Public Art Review issue 48 - 2013 (spring/summer)

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Caracas cultural park wins award | Social practice in Havana | City artists in St. Paul

Issue 48 • Spring/Summer 2013 •


ART of

HEALING Healthier cities, landscapes, and people —through public art

Recovering from disasters Making better hospitals Designing sanctuaries

Landing a Commission How to work with state agencies $16.00 USD

Marketing Public Art 12 ways to spread the word




Art spiegelman – “It was Today, only Yesterday“ , High school of Art and design, Manhattan, New York, UsA Commissioned by the NYC Department of Education and the NYC School Construction Authority Public Art for Public Schools Program, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program. Arch: SOM, Photo: Etienne Frossard

Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc. | 1-347-907-2399 | |


Ralph L. Carr Colorado Justice Center / 18’ x 40’ x 40’ / 2012 / fiberglass, steel, cast resin, LED lights

FOR JIL The new Colorado Justice Center houses the State Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the State Law Library and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. People who conduct the daily work of the State Courts pass through the Courthouse Office Tower Lobby, a two-story ceremonial space. This space, and the concerns of its users, inspired the design for “Premise,” a multi-element environmental installation.


Commissioned by Colorado Creative Industries, State of Colorado / In collaboration with Fentress Architects, Denver, CO

These elements are intended to reveal the order in nature, with its balance, symmetry, and proportion. This natural order is reflected in our legal system, in which ideas about fairness and justice are fully inspired by the laws of nature. 715 Galapago Street, Denver, CO 80204 / 303.446.3030 / /



October 11 – 20

Issue 48 • Spring/Summer 2013 • Volume 24 • Number 2

features THE ART OF HEALING Public artists are taking an active role in changing how we live. From designing healing environments to making compelling visual works, from reshaping urban spaces to supporting community wellness, they’re transforming our public experience by making our surroundings healthier, more meaningful, and more beautiful. Turn to our feature section on page 26 to see how public artists inspire and advance the healing process.

26 Building Healthy Cities Artists help shape urban spaces Joseph Hart

30 Artful Relief Recovering after natural disasters jon spayde

36 Healing Arts How five hospitals are incorporating art Alyssa Ford

42 Making Sanctuary An interview with Topher Delaney Karen Olson

46 The New Art of Mourning Three works that help communities heal jacqueline white

Photo by Dean Lavenson.

On the cover To create Hands of Connection (2011) for the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, local artist Ché Rhodes took dental molds of pairs of hands, including patients, family members, and medical staff. The cast pictured on the cover is one of 36 glass blocks that make up a partition wall within the hospital. Photo by Dean Lavenson. See story on page 36.

The Art of Health Care In health care facilities, the presence of art contributes to a patient’s sense of well-being. The San Francisco Arts Commission’s art program for Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center was designed to meet the needs of the hospital residents by providing wayfinding, cognitive and sensory stimulation, and by encouraging physical and social activity. Over 100 works of art are integrated throughout the hospital campus, where they create a sense of place and home for the Laguna Honda community.

OPPOSITE PAGE: Owen Smith, Building the Iron Horse, tile

mosaic, ©2008. THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE: Arlan Huang, Untitled, blown glass in glass block, ©2010. Diane Andrews Hall, Hermit Thrush, glass mosaic, ©2009. Terry Hoff, Untitled, oil on chalkboards, ©2005-2010. Living Lenses: Louise Bertelsen and Po Shu Wang, NEVERODDOREVEN, redwood, ©2004-2010.

Issue 48 • Spring/Summer 2013 • Volume 24 • Number 2



13 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Public Art as Healer


15 SHOP TALK News, views, and ideas

15 International Initiatives: Caracas wins award

jack becker

16 Me-to-We Design: Museum director Nina Simon Q & A

joseph hart

17 Documenting Public Art: A central database

Rachel cain


Publicity Primer: Marketing ideas for public art

19 Murals and Mental Health: Studying health effects

joseph hart

elizabeth keithline

20 Percent for Whom? Landing a state agency commission

23 SOAP BOX Triggering Change: A Call to Action 53

elysian mcNiff

Aviva Rahmani

53 ON LOCATION Reports from the field

53 Viva la Evolution: Social practice at Havana Biennial

lauren elder

kate connell oscar melara

57 Public Art/Public Works: City art in St. Paul Susannah Schouweiler

62 BOOKS Publications and reviews Amelia Foster, Ciara McKeown, and Kirstin Wiegmann 67 U.S. Recent Projects

TOP: Photo by Steve Weinik. MIDDLE: Photo by Lauren Elder. BOTTOM: Photo by Margarita Azizi.

72 International Recent Projects 72

77 Forecast News 78 Last Page Miracle Tree: Japan’s Symbol of Hope

Visit our newly launched dual website: for expanded magazine content for artists, city planners, and educators

FORECAST PUBLIC ART 2013 GRANT PROGRAM This year, over $100,000 in grant funding was awarded to public artists and organizations across Minnesota. Congrats to all the grantees and thanks to our generous funders for their continued support. We want to thank all of our applicants for their hard work and creative concepts. We would also like to thank our independent selection panel for taking on the challenging task of selecting grantees.

MID-CAREER PUBLIC ARTIST GRANTS Funded by The McKnight Foundation

Issue 48 • Spring/Summer 2013 • Volume 24 • Number 2




Karen Olson

Kurt Gough (chair)


Brent Meyers


MCAD DesignWorks


Joseph Hart

Jay Coogan


Loma Huh

Frank Fitzgerald


Amelia Foster Megan Guerber Lauren Potter

Bob Kost


Seth Hoyt

David Allen

Glenn Harper

Melisande Charles

Jerry Allen

Mary Jane Jacob

Penny Balkin Bach

Mark Johnstone


Thomas Bannister

Stephen Knapp

Liz Miller Todd Boss

Ricardo Barreto

Suzanne Lacy

Cathey Billian

Jack Mackie

C. Fuller Cowles

Jill Manton

Wang Dawei

Jennifer McGregor

Susan Doerr

Patricia C. Phillips

Funded by Jerome Foundation

Greg Esser

Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz

Thomas Fisher

Phil Pregill

Gretchen Freeman

Shelly Willis



Meena Mangalvedhekar Caroline Mehlhop Joseph Stanley Diane Willow FORECAST STAFF Jack Becker Executive Director + Principal

Stacey Holland Associate Director

Melinda Childs Director of Artist Services

Kirstin Wiegmann Director of Education + Community Engagement

Molly Balcom Raleigh Development Officer

Program + Administrative Associate


Eben Kowler & Eli Edleson-Stein Tim Donahue Soozin Hirschmugl Mara V. Pelecis

Joseph Colletti

Amelia Foster

Cecilia Schiller Sara Hanson PLANNING GRANTS

Kinji Akagawa

Michael Watkins




Susan Adams Loyd



The Bakken Museum

Center for Energy and Environment The City of Hopkins


The City of St. Louis Park, Minn.

The City of St. Paul, Minn. Clear Channel Outdoor

Forecast Public Art

College of Fine Arts, University of Shanghai

2300 Myrtle Avenue, Suite 160

Nancy Ann Coyne

St. Paul, MN 55114-1880

Hennepin County

TEL 651.641.1128

Hennepin County Library


FAX 651.641.1983

HR Green

Terri Huro Alison Holland

OUR MISSION Forecast Public Art is a 501(c)3 nonprofit

Funded by East Central Regional Arts Council


Jason Bord Dane R. Winkler

HKGi IFP Minnesota

organization that strengthens and advances the field of

Jeff Lohaus

public art—locally, nationally and internationally—by expand-

Marshall Area Fine Arts Council

ing participation, supporting artists, informing audiences

MCAD DesignWorks

and assisting communities.

Model Cities Perpich Center for Arts Education Planned Parenthood – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Public Works for Public Good Ramsey County Human Resources Red Wing Housing & Redevelopment Authority

Visit for more information and application details.

Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis University of Minnesota Libraries Wormfarm Institute

Thank you to the following supporters, from November 1, 2012 to May 1, 2013:


DONORS ($100+)

Deborah Karasov

Lynne Stanley


Anne Alwell & Tullio Alessi

Ann Kenney

Alexander Tylevich

East Central Regional Arts Council

Anonymous (4)

Debbie King

Ann Viitala & Laura Ayers

F. R. Bigelow Foundation

Peter Bachman

Larry Kirkland

Olga Viso & Cameron Gainer

Jerome Foundation

Scott Bader

Bob Kost

Tom Von Sternberg

Knight Foundation

Thomas Bannister

Kenn Kotara

Joan Vorderbruggen

Mardag Foundation

Lynn Basa

Larry La Bonte & Kathryn Shaw

Nancy Webber

The McKnight Foundation

Jack Becker & Nancy Reynolds

Andrew Leicester

Josie Winship

Meadowlark Institute

Robert & Kathryn Becker

Richard & Jane Levy

Charles Zelle

Minnesota Philanthropy Partners

Pamela Belding

Anne Lewison

Minnesota State Arts Board / Clean

Kristin Cheronis

Robert & Frenchy Lunning


Todd & Elizabeth Childs

Dave Machacek

Arlington Public Art

National Endowment for the Arts

Allen Christian

Jack Mackie

Art in Odd Places

The Saint Paul Foundation

Malcolm Cochran

Jill Manton


Trillium Foundation

Joseph Colletti

Gabriel Mayer

Arts & Science Council

Charles Fuller Cowles &

Jennifer McGregor

Bill FitzGibbons

Water, Land and Legacy Amendment

Cameron McNall

Broward Cultural Division

Neal Cuthbert

Caroline & Scott Mehlhop

C Glass Studio

Diane & Kevin Daly

John Morse

City of Albuquerque, NM

Gordon Deane

Museum Services

City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs

Richard Deutsch

Stuart Nielsen

City of Palm Desert, CA

Adele Dimopoulos

Myrna Orensten


Jonathan & Cordelia Early

Paul Petersen

David Griggs

Kyle Fokken

Patricia Phillips

Electroland LLC

Vickie & Anthony Foster

Marvin Plakut

Fort Worth Public Art

Joan Fox

Philip Pregill

Franz Mayer of Munich

Constance Mayeron Cowles

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008 and a grant from the NEA.

Gretchen Freeman

Leslie Pritchett

Janet Echelman, Inc.

Jim Gallucci

Susan Rappaport

Kansas City Municipal Art Commission

Matthew Geller

Karen Reid

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Nancy Gipple

Peter Reis

Metro Art

Kurt & Christina Gough

Thomas & Shirley Reynolds

Mosaika Art & Design

Edie Greenbaum

Philip & Mary Rickey

National Capital Commission

Barbara Grygutis

Julius Rosenwald III

Peters Studios

Nancy Hanson

James Rustad & Kay Thomas

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Margaret Harries

Richard Ruvelson

San Francisco Arts Commission

Jane Helmke

Meg Saligman

Sculpture Commission Pty. Ltd.

Lisa Heyman

William & Susan Sands

Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

John & Tasha Hock

Kent Scheer

Vicki Scuri Siteworks

Curtis Ingvoldstad

Sarah Schultz


Brad Jirka

Bruce Shapiro


Mark Johnstone

Joseph Stanley & Lori Zook-Stanley

Visit the new PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG and FORECASTPUBLICART.ORG for more projects, photos, videos, artist services, consulting and educational content.

SPECIAL THANKS Public Art Review and Forecast Public Art would like to thank HGA for their generous support of this issue.

Give online at

Š 2013 Public Art Review (ISSN: 1040-211x) is published twice annually by Forecast Public Art. Annual individual subscription rates are $30 for USA, $36 for Canada/Mexico, and $42 for Overseas. Annual institutional subscription rates are $60 for USA, $72 for Canada/Mexico, and $84 for Overseas. Public Art Review is not responsible for unsolicited material. Opinions expressed and validity of information herein are the responsibility of the author, not Forecast, and Forecast disclaims any claims made by advertisers and for images reproduced by advertisers. Public Art Review is indexed by Art Index and Artbibliographies Modern.

In Flight Paul Marioni

The Dallas Love Field Art Program will unveil four new works of Public Art and a new art gallery, Art Travelers in the main concourse in April 2013. Developed through the collaborative efforts of the Department of Aviation, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program, Southwest Airlines, and community representatives, the public art program at Dallas Love Field promotes the cultural vibrancy of the City of Dallas.

To learn more, please visit: WWW.LOVEFIELDARTPROGRAM.COM

Works dedicated in November 2012

New works opening in April 2013

Untitled (Love Field) Lane Banks. East Tunnel

Blueprint of Flight Martin Donlin. Concourse

The Settler David Newton. Ticketing/Check-In

North Texas Sunrise Dixie Friend Gay. Lobby

Back in a Moment Sherry Owens. Moss Lee Love Garden

Sky Brower Hatcher. Diamond Concession Area In Flight Paul Marioni. Love Landing Bridge


Public Art as Healer

Improving well-being drives innovation and creativity BY JACK BECKER

When it comes to the arts as a healing force, most people think of art’s therapeutic value to combat pain, dementia, aging, depression, mental illness, and other diagnoses. This idea of healing power is gaining acceptance, even among the most skeptical practitioners. Yet the healing effect of art is really on a continuum, from extreme conditions to the “healthiest” of us, and everything in between.

JACK BECKER is the executive director of Forecast Public Art­, a non-

profit based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and publisher of Public Art Review.

Forecast Public Art: In This Issue

Molly Balcom Raleigh (center), a former Forecast employee, is one of several artists working with scientists in St. Paul’s new City Art Collaboratory. Learn more in On Location.

Forecast’s Kirstin Wiegmann, director of education and community engagement, and Amelia Foster, program and administrative associate, review recent titles in the Books section.







BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Andrea Steudel. RIGHT: Photo by Tiffany Bolk.

Forecast Public Art is the publisher of Public Art Review

For an update on Forecast’s consulting program, K–12 educational initiative, grants, and Twin Cities–based events, see Forecast News and visit


“What trumps the wellness of our planet and life on it?”

Given this continuum, it has become apparent to me that the issues we’ve recently been addressing in Public Art Review—recreation, spirituality, food, and placemaking—are all related to the larger notion of wellness, and to the many ways we take care of ourselves and the world we live in. Indeed, at its core, public art is about caring and sharing. Our ongoing desire to improve our well-being drives many of us to seek improvements through innovation, creativity, design, and the arts. It drives our desire to help others in greater need than ourselves, and to contribute to meaningful, shared experiences that make a difference for the better. Working in this field is as impactful as medicine or science. What trumps the wellness of our planet and life on it? Nothing I can think of. If you agree, then I suggest we start looking at everything through this lens: How are we in the field of public art contributing to the larger notion of planetary health care?


In my hometown of St. Louis, Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch looms large over a city that is embracing public art like never before. Experiencing the arch in person nearly 50 years after its creation, I’m convinced there’s some kind of healing power to its presence in the landscape. As award-winning architect Joan Serrano said recently: “There are shapes and proportions and rhythms that feel good to the human body. A lot of them relate to nature. . . . It’s a very universal thing we can all connect with.” The arch has a beauty of balance and harmony. It commands our gaze and rewards tenfold. From afar, it acts as a beacon, connecting its entire community. Up close, it can’t help but inspire and uplift spirits. Beyond that, it just feels right. I can’t imagine how it could be improved. There’s a growing body of research that shows our thinking, emotions, behaviors, and even our social lives are influenced by the built environment. In short, designed environments—and the visual elements within—have the ability to contribute positively to our health, our well-being, and our lives.

art org

public art printing special projects artorg editions ArtOrg, P.O. Box 2, Northfield, MN 55057 USA

A Children’s Gift to Norway ArtOrg, 2013 50 ft x 100 ft (15 m x 30 m) Approximately 1500 relief blocks on fabric

Concert Choir Northfield Youth Choirs, 2013

Carleton College West Gymnasium Yamasaki, 1964

Photo, Tom Roster.

art org

SHOP TALK News, views, and ideas




International Initiatives

Announcing the Venezuelan winner of the International Award for Public Art and the launch of the Institute for Public Art

Photo courtesy Shanghai University.

BY JACK BECKER Against the backdrop of spring blossoms, the first International Award for Public Art and forum on placemaking took place at the Shanghai University in China, April 12-14. Co-presented by Public Art Review (USA) and Public Art magazine (China), the event featured the launch of a new nonprofit, the Institute for Public Art (IPA), to continue researching projects from around the world that create meaningful places, exemplify social practice, and revitalize communities. Future venues are being sought to host the IPA’s biannual award ceremony and forum, including universities working in partnership with cities to activate dialogues with international experts in the field. Recipient of the first award was Tiuna el Fuerte Cultural Park, a compelling, multifaceted project in Caracas, Venezuela. Selected from more than 140 projects, this programmable urban oasis was designed and created by LabProFab, a design collaborative headed by Alejandro Haiek Coll, Eleanna Cadalso Vera, and Michelle Sánchez de León Brajkovich. Haiek Coll was on hand to receive the honor, expressing his gratitude on behalf of the more than 50 artists and volunteers that helped build the park. “I was surprised,” Coll said, “because we don’t use new materials; we recycle materials. There’s a very difficult situation in Venezuela. People sometimes lose their faith in what we are doing because of the economic reality—we are often broke. There are not many design

projects like this in our region. Everyone involved deserves this award. It’s a very collective process.” The forum featured presentations from five runners-up (see story in Public Art Review issue 47) based in Niger, China, the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States. The guests—150 artists, academics, curators, critics, design professionals and researchers— attended from 17 different countries and discussed regional public art issues and opportunities, including Shanghai’s Metro (the largest and fastest growing subway system in the world), the 2010 Shanghai Expo site (now being redeveloped as a vast commercial and cultural venue), and the seaside Yuhuan region (a former quaint fishing community facing encroaching commercialism and industrialism). Haiek Coll summed it up: “Art has an irreverent or subversive way to see the life—the reality. It has the power to criticize the reality, move it forward, raise awareness of the problems, and demand a different way to solve them.” Shanghai University’s College of Fine Arts organized an exhibition featuring the top 26 projects selected by the IPA jury, including Lily Yeh’s Rwanda Healing Project (see page 49). Visit to read Jack’s full interview with Alejandro Haiek Coll. Jack Becker

is publisher of Public Art Review.


Me-to-We Design

Museum director Nina Simon gives tips for building a successful participatory art project INTERVIEW BY JOSEPH HART


explored what people collect and why and the psychology of collecting. Along with the gallery exhibits, we decided to create a space for collecting memories. Not everybody collects objects, and the things that are most important to us are often not material things. So we built floor-to-ceiling shelves and bought a whole lot of mason jars. Then we provided all kinds of miscellaneous scraps, junk-store objects, fabric—anything that could be placed in one of these jars— and we invited people to bottle up a memory and create a label on the jar. Hundreds and hundreds of people took part in this. And the stories people told were varied—some were funny, some were sad, some were of the moment, and some were deeply personal. But again, the structure of the activity was from the individual to the collective.

Public Art Review: Public artists are increasingly working in participatory models. Are your ideas about participation in a museum setting influenced by public art? Nina Simon: When I started down this path, I really didn’t know much about public art. I looked to the architecture of participation on the Internet. It’s only recently I’ve gotten involved in the public art side and have been interested in learning more about what’s out there.

It also sounds like it was a pretty structured activity. That is true. The fact is that you need more scaffolding, not less, in participatory works. There’s a notion that we want to provide opportunities for citizens or amateurs, and we don’t want to overly direct them. But the more structure you give them, the more successful the project will be and the more confident they’ll be as participants. Related to this idea is the outcome of the project. A lot of participatory projects fail because of the “black box” syndrome. You make your art thing, and you put it in this black box, and then nobody knows what happened to it. In Santa Cruz Collects, the outcome was all these jars on the wall. And they are really very beautiful.

What did you learn from Internet communities? One interesting principle is what I call “me-to-we design.” If you want to create a really participatory community space, you don’t just put out a bunch of chairs and invite the community in. You have to create opportunities that make individuals feel valued—and then make moves to network them with other individuals. A good example is sites like Netflix and Amazon that suggest reading material: You bought this book, and based on what other people are buying, you might like this other book over here. It goes from the individual to network you to the community. How do you achieve that in a museum setting? It’s important to understand that people don’t want to be anonymous. They want the Cheers experience, where the bartender knows your name. So the question is, how do I allow you to personalize your museum experience—like the equivalent to an online profile. That personalization can lead, somewhat counterintuitively, to a much more communal experience. Do you have an example of a participatory project that does this successfully? We had an exhibition here last fall called Santa Cruz Collects, and it

Is a beautiful outcome necessary? Well, I would say that I think we’re doing ourselves and our participants and the community a disservice if all we’re thinking about is empowering the participants. We need to think of an outcome that’s as exciting and dynamic as any other exhibit. Not only how can we make a fun way to get people involved, but how can they make the museum better for the next person who walks in—whether that person participates or not. Participatory pieces are a bit like cooking with children. Nobody assumes that it’s more efficient or faster to cook with children—but there are important reasons we do it. And in the end, you still get the cake or the lasagna. In participatory pieces, we shouldn’t have any different expectation for the value of the output than in any other form of artwork. Nina Simon’s blog is Museum 2.0. ( Joseph hart

is associate editor of Public Art Review.

Photo by Ted Holladay.



Nina Simon is the executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and the author of The Participatory Museum. In both capacities, she’s become a leading voice in the dialog about the changing role of museums in the community. In the preface to her book (which is available for purchase or online reading at, Simon cites dwindling and graying attendance at museums and traces it to a failure to connect with the public—at the very moment when the Internet is arguably empowering more grassroots artistic expression and consumption than at any time in recent history. The cure, she suggests, is to turn the museum into “a place where visitors can create, share, and connect with each other around content.” We interviewed her about this vision.



Documenting Public Art offers the field a central database

rachel cain is

program manager for the Public Art Archive™ at WESTAF.

Paolo Soleri, 1919–2013 On April 9, 2013, the world lost one of its great minds. Paolo Soleri, the architect, artist, theorist, and counterculture hero best known for his philosophy of arcology, which stresses the connection between architecture and ecology, died at age 93 at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. In an age of specialization, he demonstrated an architect’s ability to influence and even lead the search for a new pattern of inhabiting the earth. Arcosanti, the urban project he founded 65 miles north of Phoenix in 1970, was described by Newsweek magazine as “the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.” To date, over 7,000 students have participated in the ongoing construction of this project. As Soleri’s former apprentice Will Bruder told the New York Times, “I learned how much you can do with very little, the potential of simplicity and the ability to make unbelievable things from modest means, to dream huge dreams.” Soleri’s architectural commissions have included the Dome House in Cave Creek, Arizona; the Ceramica Artistica Solimene ceramics factory in Vietri sul Mare, Italy; the Indian Arts Cultural Center and Theatre in Santa Fe; the Glendale Community College Theater; and the chapel at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. His recent public artworks include Scottsdale’s Soleri Bridge and Plaza and the bas-relief murals that are part of Arizona’s new I-17 Arcosanti/ Cordes Junction traffic interchange. His numerous awards include gold medals from the American Institute of Architects, the International Union of Architects, the Venice Biennale, and the National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Active up to the time of his death, Soleri’s final project was a series of collages juxtaposing illustrations from today and antiquity.


The emerging field of public art includes a wide variety of professionals—artists, city administrators, curators, urban planners, architects, and landscape architects—and a host of supporting professionals, from material handlers to construction workers to tourism experts. The growth of the field has been a grassroots, organic affair, with individual programs and professionals scattered across the world, principally learning by doing. In recent years, however, there’s been a growing imperative to forge best practices and uniform standards—to measure what works and apply that to new programs and artworks. A comprehensive body of publicly accessible information about public art programs and projects could be a vital tool in the effort to unify and standardize the work of the field. One of the defining challenges of creating a single database of public artworks is the lack of standards and consistency among public art programs. In the absence of best practices, each program collects (or not) widely varied information about artworks, artists, locations, and commissioning processes. Many programs do not even have an online presence, which, in the Internet age, seems contradictory to the “public” nature of public art. Moreover, the explosion of public art programs across the nation over the past 40 years has added to the field’s challenges. Dwindling financial and human resources brought on by the recession further compound the issue. The result of all these factors has been that information and images related to public artworks are siloed, buried in governmental websites, and impossible to cross-reference. In response to these challenges, the (PAA) database was launched by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) on December 21, 2010, with one goal: to collect images and high-quality data for every public artwork in the United States and beyond into one publicly searchable online database. With access to information about public art in one unified location, practitioners in the field can overcome their isolation and strengthen their networks. After starting with artworks from five public art programs, there are now more than 200 public art collections represented in the PAA from the United States and Canada. Additional plans for the project beyond the database include the development of online collection-management tools and services for administrators. Supplemental professional development opportunities will foster cross-disciplinary connections between the public art sphere and related professions. It is important to note that the Public Art Archive project is only as helpful as it is comprehensive; the PAA relies on the involvement of members of each program in the system. Beyond the PAA database, the overall project is a rallying cry for the public art field to unite and adopt best practices in documenting public artworks. We encourage everyone’s participation.


Photo by Michel Sarda.

BY Rachel Cain



Publicity Primer

12 ideas for marketing public art BY ElYSIAN MCNIFF


1. post on your website The Boston Art Commission features projects with interviews and photographs on its website. Tamara Dimitri, the program manager of Connecticut’s Art in Public Spaces, describes her Web effort as an attempt to “build an army of supporters” to help protect her program. She plans to post information about the importance of collecting art. 2. sEND OUT press releases and newsletters Michele Bailey of the Vermont Arts Council uses press releases to gather input on projects and announce unveilings; however, she laments that press releases only touch a small audience. 3. leverage social media Facebook and Twitter are two platforms for building community; use them to announce calls for artists, cross-post projects, and provide information about the process. The Vermont Arts Council uploads project images on Facebook as teasers leading up to an unveiling. Tweet project images during and after the unveiling. Don’t forget the power of an image—consider Tumblr and Flickr to showcase projects. These photo-hosting platforms serve as archives and allow viewers to participate in an online sharing community. Middlebury College’s Museum of Art promotes its collection by registering each work as a place on Foursquare, which then creates a list for viewers. What’s next? The museum now has its collections and exhibitions on Pinterest, and will be utilizing it for public art. Social media is not just a bulletin board; it is effective when it generates dialogue and is social. People can be empowered and have a feeling of ownership through online platforms. For instance, ask your followers to participate in a competition; they can vote for a proposal by liking it on FaceBook. 4. get talking and make it personal Don’t forget word of mouth. Host finalist presentations as public gatherings. Rose F. Kennedy Greenway personnel held public meetings with artists and community members to discuss their public art plan. Ask selec-

tion panelists and community partners, chambers of commerce, and tourism bureaus to spread the word. 5. blog The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission use blogs to share state-commissioned public art projects and artist opportunities. New England Foundation for the Arts uses its blog to post calls for artists and share information from its Public Art Discussion Series. Americans for the Arts also accepts public art posts on ARTSblog. 6. use channels other than your own Share your project with the Public Art Network and the Public Art Archive. Reach out to Public Art Dialogue. Send your project press release to Sculpture or Public Art Review. Run a print ad to feature your project. New England public art administrators promote their projects in regional or travel publications like Art New England and Yankee Magazine. We also use Big Red & Shiny, an online journal about contemporary art and culture. 7. include newspapers in your media mix Don’t forget to contact local newspapers and their bloggers. Again, get the word out to those who may otherwise miss your project. 8. map your public art with walking tours State and municipal programs in New England use Google to create public art maps. It’s as simple as clicking on “My Places” in Google Maps and pinning locations. Public art walks in the form of downloadable maps, printed maps, or audio guides are also effective. The Boston Art Commission taps into family audiences with its family-friendly Public Art QUESTions—a guide for talking about public art with kids. The Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium piggybacks on Maine tourism, offering a Symposium Sculpture tour of “Maine’s scenic vistas” and “magnificent sculptures.” The Culture NOW website allows public art programs to upload and map their collections. The website features self-guided tours, podcasts, maps, and smartphone apps. 9. audio-/Videotape it Video narratives are effective ways to increase awareness and access. The Vermont Arts Council hired a filmmaker to create a documentary about the process and product of the Danville Project. The Middlebury College Museum of Art hired a student to create video versions of its downloadable audio walking tour. The Museum uploaded the videos to YouTube, and visitors play audio/video on their smartphones while viewing the works. The museum also added QR codes to the stone markers so that

Photo by Anna Ghublikian.



It is a challenge to produce effective marketing strategies for public art projects and programs. Public art administrators and artists are faced with limited resources; we all wish we had more time, money, and capacity. How do we go beyond websites and Facebook pages and get the word out? The following is a compilation of methods from New England– based public art administrators. There’s no fail-proof marketing formula; projects, budgets, locations, and audiences can vastly differ. Consider these suggestions a “Choose Your Own Adventure” and use what works for you.


visitors can scan their way quickly to the content. Philadelphia’s Association for Public Art is leading the pack with its Museum Without Walls audio tours—a great model for all.

11. engage the next generation Cambridge Arts Council runs a Public Art Youth Council program in which teenagers are hired to work with program staff on activities and events that deepen their understanding of and engagement with public art.

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Public art is multifaceted and so are the communications and marketing strategies behind each project.

ELYSIAN MCNIFF is the public art and creative communities coordinator for New England Foundation for the Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. This article was originally published on ARTSblog (, a program of Americans for the Arts.


Murals and Mental Health

Photo by Steve Weinik.

A collaborative public art project in three Philadelphia neighborhoods is poised to answer the question of whether participating in a public art project has a therapeutic value. The Porch Light Initiative, now in its third year, places artists in three neighborhood health agencies and connects them not only with the staff but also with patients who are struggling with addiction and mental or behavioral health issues. Working in collaborative teams, the groups participate in weekly workshops—all building toward the completion of large-scale public murals. Unlike many mural arts programs, this one–part of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program—is run not by an artist but by a social work and policy researcher. “When I was pursuing my degree, I became interested in how our built environment impacts our social health,” explains Sara Ansell, program manager. “Food is a good example. People who don’t have access to broccoli don’t eat broccoli.” Her work at Porch Light is an extension of that interest, except that in this case, the built environment is being transformed by the very people whose social health is most impacted. From the view of social health research, it raises an interesting question: Can participating in a public art project improve the mental health and the resilience of individuals—and of their community? To answer that question, Ansell and her colleagues have partnered with a team

of investigators led by Dr. Jacob Tebes, director of the Department of Prevention and Community Research at Yale University School of Medicine. Tebes is leading a three-year research project to measure the program’s impact. “Their study is one of the most rigorous in the public art sector,” says Ansell. “They’re looking at the impact on the people who participate, as well as on the community.” The methods go deep and include broad surveys, in-depth case studies, and focus groups at each of the three social service sites, as well as community surveys, observations, and statistical analysis. Data collected from the three sites will be compared to data drawn from three comparable behavioral health programs that don’t include an arts component. Preliminary results will be available this summer, with the full study published in 2014. In the meantime, Ansell says that every day she sees the program’s impact on participants and practitioners alike. “Public art can’t cure everything, but it sparks some real depth in the work of these agencies,” she says. “You’re taking a person who might feel like they have a label etched on their forehead and welcoming them, along with staff, into this setting where they’re not talking about their feelings, they’re not assessing their medication—they’re talking about what shade of yellow they want to use in a painting. That has a real humanizing impact for everyone.” —Joseph Hart

The Porch Light Initiative puts on a Painting a Healthy City day at S.T.O.P. (Sobriety Through Out Patient), a behavioral health clinic. The goal is to help those in recovery build positive relationships in the community.


Researchers are conducting an in-depth investigation of whether hands-on art projects help people improve their behavioral health


10. encourage artists to communicate Mary Tinti, curatorial fellow at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, asserts that artists are reluctant self-promoters. One of the best strategies for a public artist is to create their own blog to post photographs, behindthe-scene stories of the process, and goals and outcomes of the project. The blog link is easily forwarded and cross-promoted.

12. mEasure success Program and project evaluation will largely be measured through user interaction with your online presence. Track your website and blog hits through Google Analytics. Go back and check your social media hits as well. Read viewer comments and learn what worked and didn’t. Follow up with each new “like”!



Percent for Whom?

If you want to land a public art commission, begin by understanding the process by which you might be selected BY Elizabeth Keithline



As both an artist and a public arts administrator, I have a unique perspective on the snags and successes of securing public art commissions. A hundred artists may apply for a given opportunity— but only one can succeed. Who wins—and why? The answer, of course, varies from project to project. But after reviewing hundreds of applications, it’s clear that a basic understanding of the commissioning process is one of the key hurdles many artists face. For starters, it’s important to bear in mind that the different entities that commission public art—corporations, individuals, municipal and state governments, museums, nonprofit agencies, foundations, colleges and universities—each have their own process of selection. Some processes are by invitation only. When corporations commission artwork, they often contact an artist or an artist’s gallery directly. They aren’t required to include the public in their decision making, but they sometimes choose to in the interest of community relations. Private colleges and universities tend to straddle a commission process that is public to their community, but private to the larger world. Their public art collections can include percent-for-art projects, committee selections, temporary commissions, faculty- or student-led projects, gifts from alumni classes or individuals, and gifts from benefactors. The works that they purchase must mainly satisfy their stakeholders: alumni, donors, board members, administrators, and students, not necessarily the general public. State percent-for-art programs require a more defined public process. These programs, which earmark a percentage of public bond money for artworks, are supervised by a public “commissioning agency.” Public art laws define the commissioning agency’s mission, dictate how funds will be administered, establish the role and number of panelists on the commission, set budgets, and define artists’ rights. Typically, work commissioned within these programs must be housed in the building from which the budget is derived. Public artwork is often mandated to be selected by committee, a fact that some think contributes to mediocrity. Most state arts administrators who oversee selection committees are expected to be neutral in discussions, so the only real power they have is in who they invite to serve on their panels. Enlisting the aid of adventuresome artists or curators can give confidence to those on the panel with less art-world experience. Sometimes administrators establish an image library, which allows them to create, for panel consideration, a short list of artists they like and feel they can work with. More administrators are also trying to establish temporary programs that, if not popular, will soon be replaced with the next round of work. At the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), the process typically involves three meetings. At the first one, panelists meet on-site to discuss the wording of the request for qualifications (RFQ). They consider what kind of work they want for the commis-

sion, the audience profile, and sites within the building and grounds. The RFQ is written and distributed nationally. After the deadline has passed, panelists read and rank the applications online and then meet for a second time to winnow down the number of applicants. The process is quite competitive. Depending on budget, RISCA receives anywhere from 85 to 300 applications for a project. At the third meeting, finalists present proposals in person and one is selected for the commission. The selected artist is notified and a contract is written and signed. One of the hardest things to do with public art projects is to measure success. Public art, particularly publicly funded public art, is sometimes controversial. While some argue that controversy is an indication that government shouldn’t be involved in the commission of art, others feel that controversy is what gives public art its value. And public art is for everyone. There are many people who may not set foot across the threshold of a gallery or museum who should still have art in their lives. Understanding the commissioning process you are submitting to is a critical prerequisite to winning a contract. Artists should also bear in mind the following tips: • If at all possible, have your work professionally photographed and maintain an up-to-date website. • If you are an artist who would like to work in the public realm, try to serve on a selection panel and attend public presentations as often as you can. • When submitting an application, show that you have read the RFQ by submitting images and text that pertain. • Don’t request architectural plans just yet. That information will come later if you’re chosen as a finalist. Panelists are mainly looking at your images at this stage of the process. • If you do not have experience creating work in a public setting, try to get commissions at a lower price point that will help you gain experience and increase your qualifications. • When presenting to a panel, be prepared to answer questions about durability, schedule, and subcontractors. Stay flexible. • Pay attention to national resources on public art: the Public Art Network listserv,,, and other websites across the country that serve as sources of information for public artists. • When you come into contact with a percent-for-art manager, be kind. As artist Mark Johnstone says, “public art requires deep social intelligence.” If that’s true for artists, it’s doubly true for public arts administrators. Sometimes running a percent-for-art program feels like the most radical position in state government. ELIZABETH KEITHLINE is public art director for the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, a principal at Wheel Arts Administration, and a working artist, writer, and curator.

Ron Simmer

Alisa Looney

Patrick Blythe

Lina and Gus Ocamposilva

Delos Van Earl

Deedee Morrison

The El Paseo Invitational Exhibition lifts spirits as it elevates culture. Part of the City’s Art in Public Places program, the rotating installation punctuates the mile-long median of Palm Desert’s renowned shopping destination. Juxtaposed with boutiques, restaurants, fine art galleries and international retailers, the collection is on display through 2014.

C.J. Rench


Daniel Stern

18 exuberant sculptures. Talent that knows no limits.

Additional exhibition artists include: Dore Capitani, Ana Lazovsky, Carlos Basanta, Heath Satow, Stephen Fairfield Michael Anderson, Karen and Tony Barone,

For information, contact Find us on Facebook at Public Art Palm Desert 760.346.0611

Patricia Vader

DeeAnne Wagner and Daniel Meyer



Triggering Change

An experimental public art project in Maine leads to a call-to-action BY AVIVA RAHMANI tion work, this energetic flow is carried by healthy waterways, which depend on adequate buffering setbacks and animal corridors. The art historian and critic Rosalyn Deutsche notes that supported public art often reinforces prevailing values. And certainly, public artists can be as thoughtless about their relationship to our ecosystem as can any other sector of society. Using trigger point theory, artists can take a different approach: one that combines activist interventions as a form of public art with the goal of healing the ecosystem.


needle—activate broader ecological healing. Determining the physical location and the course of action for “treatment” is a process of both analytic calculation and intuition, with layers of observations about environmental justice, bioregionalism, and speciesism. In practice, I began my site work by walking it daily for an hour,

Photo courtesy Wendy Greenberg.


In 1990, I bought a former coastal town dump on Vinalhaven Island, a fishing village in the Gulf of Maine 13 miles out to sea. I built a modest residence on the land and began the work of ecosystem restoration. When I first arrived, the location was remote in winter, cut off from the mainland by infrequent ferries and capricious weather. Isolation tested my internal resilience. On Vinalhaven, I discovered the metaphor of lost drift nets, or “ghost nets”—monofilament fishing nets that trap and kill marine life. Ghost nets seemed a symbol of our tangled dysfunctions. That metaphor became the seed of Ghost Nets, a 10-year project and a laboratory for my notion of “trigger point theory.” Trigger point theory is connected to the Chinese notion of chi, or life force, which is activated at trigger points on the body. This concept of chi is paralleled by basic principles of thermodynamics in the physics of how closed and open systems function. Trigger point theory and chi share ideas about activating energetic flow by identifying blockage points in biogeography. Shortly after I began work on Ghost Nets, I was diagnosed with a severe case of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that I have treated ever since with acupuncture. CFS taught me to make thoughtful choices about building systemic resilience. Acupuncture taught me that small interventions can have big implications. Trigger point theory sees acupuncture as a model for an approach to restoring areas of large landscape environmental degradation with public ecological art: Artistic interventions in vital trigger points, such as my town dump on Vinalhaven, can—like the acupuncturist’s

listening to the sounds of weather and wildlife, singing with those sounds, making notes and sketches, and taking photographs. I regarded those activities as a performatory research project. My practice at the site expanded to include geographic information systems science (GIS), acoustics, meditation, experiments in game theory, drawings and paintings of the site, bioengineering, phytoremediation, and permaculture. On days when I felt strong, I continued to walk the site over and over, observing with all my senses. On days when I could not, I meditated on how restoring land must be as deliberate as acupunc-

We live in times that present an extraordinary opportunity to artists to lead the way in such work. Every issue impacting the earth today, from economics to poverty, is either caused or exacerbated by ecosystem degradation. Artists can not only change perceptions, but help reverse this degradation. With trigger point theory, I have created a model that challenges and inverts prevailing values. My vision is that trigger point theory, combined with other strategies, can change public policies that degrade the earth. My challenge to artists who work in the public realm is to show less interest in leaving their handprint on a site and to concern them-

ture on an ill human body. Identifying where to insert a needle to effect triage on the human body is analogous to acting locally, thinking bioregionally and globally. Restoring health to degraded areas often begins with a point of nucleation, a seeding of plantings that builds on some remnant of healthy function. In my practice, I am often inspired by how physics can help us think about earth forces, or flow. In ecological restora-

selves instead with its transformation from collapse to vitality. has explored art, science, and natural ecosystems in her work since 1969. She studied at the University of Plymouth, UK, Zurich-node, Switzerland, and at City College of New York. Her projects include Blue Rocks, a 26-acre wetlands restoration, and Fish Story, which applies trigger point theory in Memphis, Tennessee.


A public art project in North Philadelphia that swathes entire city blocks in color.

Funded by: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, PTS Foundation Photos by Jeroen Koolhaas

More than 50 storefronts on historic Germantown Avenue have been transformed by Haas & Hahn — along with help from hired local community members and experienced mural artists.



Building Healthy Cities Urban planners are looking to artists to help shape—and heal—the city

by Joseph Hart

art that is as close as possible to sustaining life. It’s art that aspires to make the act of daily living and of sustaining daily life the masterpiece artwork.”

Healing the City Young’s concept of artwork that sustains life provides context for the Portland Acupuncture Project. Both the artist and his collaborators in the planning department are loosely interested in healing the city and its citizens. “When we think of our own health, we think of it as stopping at our skin,” Kuby says. “I wanted to blur that reality. What you’re eating, what you’re breathing, your stress level—all of those things related to the health of the city have a direct impact on the health of your body. There’s no separation.” In choosing sites for the project, Kuby bore this healing mission in mind. A “needle” installed at Portland’s Waterfront Park, for instance, was titled Swimmable River and drew attention to progress toward reducing the Willamette’s toxic load. Space In-Between raised awareness of Gateway Green, a proposed 35-acre recreation area that neighborhood activists hope to establish on an abandoned tract of land that is encircled and orphaned by two major freeways. Kuby sees a direct parallel between his work as an artist, drawing attention to such spaces and projects with sculptural interventions, and the work of the planning commission. “Planners are already thinking and looking at the connection between city planning, the

Left/RIGHT: Photos by Yalcin Erhan.

Artists at the Table Kuby’s work with Portland’s planning department is an example of an emerging imperative for collaboration among public artists, urban planners, and developers—an imperative that’s being encouraged by funding mechanisms and the current conversation around “placemaking.” In the past, public art projects have tended to be driven either by artists, who must add administrative legwork to their creative impulse in order to achieve the project, or by private or public developers, who, all too often, think of public art as an after-thought adornment for a plaza, building, or park. Collaborative relationships like Kuby’s work with Portland planners adopt a more embedded approach, in which artists, architects, engineers, planners, and elected officials work side-by-side, and often start-to-finish, to achieve their ends. Such relationships change the work of both the artist and the planning professionals. In St. Paul, Minnesota, for instance, “city artists” work in the Public Works department, attending meetings and helping to shape the cityscape on a day-to-day basis (see story on page 57). Marcus Young, St. Paul’s City Artist in Residence since 2008, explains that one way to understand our urban infrastructure—streets, sidewalks, water treatment, police and fire protection—is to see it as a life-sustaining system. “The work of the city is the work of sustaining life,” he says. “Art in that context is really interesting, because it’s

ABOVE: Adam Kuby’s Space In-Between, part of the Portland Acupuncture Project, highlights Gateway Green, 35 acres between two interstate highways. City officials and activists are working to incorporate the land into the region’s web of trails and green spaces. OPPOSITE: Streetcar Desire calls attention to the site of the future Portland–Milwaukie MAX Light Rail Clinton St. Station, slated to open in 2015, and how better public transit—and overall circulation—is essential to Portland’s health. health of the city—the way it works and doesn’t work—and the health of the public. That’s really foremost for them, and this project was a way of making that connection a little more visible.” An even more deeply collaborative project in Chattanooga, Tennessee, also focuses on the health of the city and its citizens. Main Terrain is a new park, built on a city-owned former brownfield, that links the


During the spring and summer of 2010, artist Adam Kuby began “treating” the city of Portland with 35-foot-high acupuncture needles. He placed each needle to draw attention to a particular neighborhood or environmental feature: Some sites posed challenges to the city and were in need of healing; others were assets, if neglected ones. “I wanted to get people to see the city as a living, breathing organism,” explains Kuby. “The way a city grows, functions, lives, and dies has a lot of parallels to the human body.” Kuby, a public artist with a background in landscape architecture, conceived of the Portland Acupuncture Project (acuportland .org) during a stint as artist-in-residence for Portland’s rapidly developed South Waterfront neighborhood, but from concept to execution, he worked closely with professionals in the city’s planning department—“the people who really know the city like a doctor knows a body,” as Kuby put it. In the early stages of the project, Kuby enlisted planning personnel, along with acupuncturists, in a mapping exercise to help refine the city-as-body metaphor. The timing was fortuitous: The department was in the midst of refining the Portland Plan, a major planning initiative intended to guide the city’s growth for the next quarter-century. “We saw a real connection between Adam’s work and the Portland Plan,” says Eden Dabbs, the communications and public affairs officer for Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. A collaborative relationship emerged from these early interactions. Kuby added community meetings with expert speakers and public comment at each site in his project; the planning department helped spread the word and used the Portland Acupuncture Project to draw attention to their comprehensive Portland Plan. “It was a really interesting partnership,” says Dabbs. “My goal was to help Adam get the word out about his project and focus attention on it and maximize its impact. In so doing, we helped drive people to learn more about the Portland Plan. I think the Acupuncture Project drove at least a few people to the public meetings on the plan.”




city’s popular, redeveloped Main Street to its convention center. The new park is but the latest chapter in a four-decade effort to reinvent the city. By the end of the 1960s, Chattanooga’s industrial base had collapsed, leaving behind a polluted and struggling city. But since then, the city has rebuilt itself as a destination for mountain and river sports—and has drawn attention to itself with its redevelopment efforts, funded in large part by area private foundations. These include the restoration of an historic bridge over the Tennessee River, the construction of a popular aquarium, and the revitalization of the urban waterfront. From the initial planning stages, Main Terrain was designed to do much more than link two successfully redeveloped neighborhoods: for one thing, it needed to incorporate a storm-water treatment function. Planners also wanted the park to serve as an adult playground for the fitness-oriented population of Chattanooga. And public art was incorporated into the redevelopment vision from the outset. As a result of these required functions, according to Peggy Townsend, director of Public Art Chattanooga, which is a part of

tion within the Parks and Recreation Department is key, not only because it gives the public art program access to the contract machinery of the city, but because “public art is seen as part of what the city does every day, instead of an add-on.”

Functional Aesthetics

The end result of the planning effort is a sculpture park that doubles as a cross-training outdoor fitness area. Main Terrain consists of a long, narrow strip of land, and Sayre’s design takes advantage of this shape by incorporating a running track around the edge of the park. The main sculptural feature is a bridge-like structure that can be manipulated by users of the park. “It spins on ball bearings,” explains Sayre, “and it takes some effort to move these 32-foot-long trusses. There’s a very real exercise component to the artwork.” PlayCore, the playground equipment company, designed and installed prototype adult fitness equipment to round out the training offerings. The storm-water component consists of shallow, slowly draining ponds that divert up to 1.5 million gallons of water per year out of the city’s sewer system and help prevent overflow sewage from exiting the system into the Tennessee River. —Peggy Townsend, director of Public Art Chattanooga “It’s not just an ordinary park,” says Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Administrator the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, a diverse and compli- Larry Zehnder. “We took a brownfield, and we looked at the cuttingcated team came together to work on the project: artist Thomas Sayre edge issues facing the United States—storm runoff and water quality, designed the park, in collaboration with an architect and landscape health and fitness, specifically in terms of obesity—and then develarchitect; local private foundations put up a portion of the budget and oped it into something aesthetically pleasing. It’s an aesthetic project played a hands-on role in the development; Townsend helped win a that’s also functional.” $250,000 ArtPlace grant for the project, and helped guide the process; Incorporating the fitness components into the public artworks may the Parks and Recreation Department staff were key players; Public be cutting edge, but it’s well within his mission as head of Parks and Works helped develop the water-treatment functions; and PlayCore, a Recreation, Zehnder says. “We have to look beyond just building national playground equipment manufacturer based in Chattanooga, greenery, and putting art into these green spaces,” he says. “We are contributed consulting staff to the effort. the entity that represents the physical fitness of our population. We “The partner list is huge,” says Townsend. “It was a diverse group, have a responsibility to provide for them in a way that’s creative and in that it wasn’t only art-, park-, and landscape-oriented.” Her posi- inviting. Hopefully we’ll [inspire] some of the couch potatoes.”

“Public art is seen as part of what the city does every day, instead of an add-on.”

LEFT/BEFORE: A 1.72-acre tract of land that once was part of Chattanooga’s industrial rail lines sat vacant. RIGHT/AFTER: Today, on the same site, Tom Sayre’s Main Terrain provides a vital green space and fitness park for residents and local businesses. Sculptural trusses perched atop concrete pylons are reminiscent of Chattanooga’s Walnut Street Bridge. Visitors get a workout by turning them with wheels.



Top: Photo by Jennifer Strain. Bottom: Photo by Julie Jackson. OPPOSITE Left: Photo courtesy the Main Terrain Archives. OPPOSITE Right: Photo by Jennifer Strain.

ABOVE: In addition to being an art park, Main Terrain features several adult fitness nodes designed by PlayCore, making it an active and engaging space that helps Chattanooga residents get healthier. BELOW: Community members, civic leaders, and park enthusiasts gather for the grand opening of Main Terrain in January. This multi-functional space was designed to include a storm-water treatment function.

The Art of City-Making St. Paul’s Marcus Young makes a distinction between the functional aspects of city-making—street repair or wastewater treatment, for example—that speak principally to the external needs of the population, and the aesthetic or artistic aspects of city-making, which speak to their internal needs. But in projects like Main Terrain and the Portland Acupuncture Project, the lines between these different sets of needs are increasingly blurry. It’s also interesting to consider the notion of urban health—whether environmental health, the health of the citizens, or the overall health of the city—in terms of tried-and-true measures of urban development and public art, such as jobs created, increased private-sector investments, or economic growth. Artists may be uniquely positioned to contribute to a more nuanced “healing effort” in city-making. For the moment, the collaboration that resulted in Main Terrain is having an impact on Chattanooga, measured in part by users who are coming to the park for lounging and for fitness. “When everybody comes together, and the foundations are putting money behind it, and the city is stepping up, it’s a validation of what the arts mean,” says Dan Bowers, president of the organization ArtsBuild, Chattanooga’s nonprofit arts council. “It’s not just art for art’s sake. It’s making the city stronger.” JOSEPH HART

is associate editor of Public Art Review.

Artful Relief After recent disasters, artists have been helping communities heal. Now they’re ready to play an official role in disaster relief and recovery. by Jon Spayde

A couple of days after Hurricane Sandy slammed New York City, Caron Atlas, director of the nonprofit Arts & Democracy Project, got a call from a nearby neighborhood city council member, Brad Lander. The two had worked together as community organizers; now Lander wondered if Atlas could arrange cultural programming for some 500 special-needs evacuees—mainly elderly and people with physical and mental disabilities—who were taking shelter in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Armory. Anxious to help, Atlas agreed right away. At first, Atlas says, she simply suggested some arts programming, but the shelter coordinators responded that “if I wanted to do that, I needed to create the infrastructure for all of the programs.” So she and her artist collaborators created what they termed a “wellness center” in the gigantic armory that offered religious services, AA meetings, scores of musical performances, film screenings, a knitting circle, arts and writing workshops—and simple conversation and friendship.



Marco Mendez, age 13, interviews a Coney Island resident for the Sandy Storyline project in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.



The experience helped spark a desire in her to create an ongoing infrastructure run by artists and cultural organizers—her working title for it is the Arts and Wellness Relief and Recovery Corps—that could set up similar wellness centers in any emergency shelter in the city when disaster strikes. The Corps is only an idea so far, but Atlas and her Arts & Democracy colleagues have been in contact with other artist-activists in disasterravaged places including northern Japan, New Orleans, and the Australian state of Queensland, which was hit by major flooding in 2011 and again in January. They’re learning about similar efforts, past and present, that use the arts to help restore people’s equilibrium after a disaster, to knit ravaged communities together—and to examine social problems that are laid bare when normal civic functions go haywire.

residents make sense of what they were going through. The wellness center also became the studio for a visual artist evacuee who got through the ordeal by painting every day. The arts did many other important recovery jobs, too—downtown performance-art landmark Dixon Place hosted a fundraiser for flood relief, for example, and the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island has given continued technical assistance and moral and financial support to artists who lost homes, studios, or artworks to the storm. But the power of art to restore some wholeness to psyches and souls shaken by disaster has emerged as the major leitmotif in artist-led recovery efforts. In Japan, this “soulcraft” included a project called the Yappeshi Matsuri (“Let’s Do It!” Festival) in the hard-hit city of Ofunato, initiated by artist Ichiro Endo and Tokyo art collector Hiroko Ishinabe, a native of Ofunato. A Japanese festival is both a religious ritual and a fun-fair, and the Yappeshi Matsuri features traditional group dancing and singing, food cooked by volunteers, and an open-air barbershop. In May 2011, the first time this festival was held, 1,500 people flocked to the auditorium and grounds of the Ikawa Elementary School to enjoy themselves and remind themselves that their lives were larger than what they’d undergone. The festival will soon be held again, for the eighth time.

The power of art to restore some wholeness to psyches and souls shaken by disaster has emerged as the major leitmotif in artist-led recovery efforts.

Artists as “First Responders”

One common theme among such projects is the overwhelming willingness of artists to help after a disaster. “When we set up the wellness center,” says Atlas, “there were more artists showing up to help than we could accommodate. It was like booking a festival; we had four or five performances a day, and people dropped off art supplies too, and led workshops.” This was no isolated instance. Yasuyo Kudo, an artist and designer who heads the Tokyo-based Art and Society Research Center, recalls that in the first few weeks after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, visual artists, actors, musicians, photographers, and other creative people flocked to the disaster area. “While the ‘real world’ relief work was progressing,” she says, “other relief work using the Internet was launched. In the month after the earthquake, many websites were built by artists and art-related people, asking for donations to help the victims, and exchanging information among the artists involved in relief work in the area. These activities emerged everywhere in Japan very quickly and spontaneously.” What’s the Art Part?

With the wellness center established in Sandy’s wake, a question arose—what sort of contribution could artists make as artists? “We got into discussions about what kinds of work would be appropriate, what people would relate to best,” Caron Atlas recalls. It soon became clear that the artists who had the greatest success in the armory were the ones who, in Atlas’s words, “could engage the folks there and relate to them as human beings.” In other words, rather than merely providing entertainment or cultural uplift, the “art part” of the wellness center served to remind evacuees of their humanity. When jazz musicians played, for example, they also talked jazz history with the audience, many of whom possessed a depth of knowledge about music and art. “People got to remember for a moment that they weren’t just victims,” says Atlas. “They were people who loved jazz.” Writing workshops helped

Civil Conversations

Another important motif is the creation of “civil conversations” in the wake of disasters—discussions about community values that serve to bring the community together and to engage with issues that the disaster may have revealed or underlined. One example is the Sandy Storyline project, which grew out of Housing Is a Human Right, a storytelling project about home, homelessness, and foreclosure, organized by Rachel Falcone and Michael Premo in New York. The pair had been experimenting with new technology developed at MIT that allows pictures, text, and voice messages to be gathered via an 800 number. When Sandy hit, the artists knew that they wanted to harvest stories about the storm with this new technology. The resulting stories, many of which have been posted on the project’s website, include the harrowing, like an account of ambulance drivers in Hoboken, New Jersey, struggling to reach injured people through flooded streets; and the personal, like a young man’s tale of celebrating his eighteenth birthday by candlelight during the power outage. These expressions are cathartic for the tellers, of course, but sharing them also “builds community by getting us out of the closeted spaces of our own heads,” says Premo. “Whenever an extreme event happens, as we saw on 9/11, there’s a need to come together. For Rachel and me, the issue in all our work has been how to use stories as a jumping-off point for a deeper understanding of a shared experience.” Falcone and Premo plan to display the stories “in sculptural


1: At Yeppeshi Matsuri, a Japanese festival after the March 2011 tsunami, this outdoor play park began with the removal of glass and debris. Grass, toys, and a bridge were installed on the day of the festival so children could again play outside. 2: Local elementary school children shared their handwritten hopes for the future by tying them to bamboo trees . 3: Artist Shotaro Yoshino has been part of the festival planning committee since the first Yeppeshi Matsuri was held in May 2011.





1, 2, 3: Photos by James Jack. 4, 5, 6: Photos by Shotaro Yoshino. 7: Photo by Caron Atlas. 8: Photo by Scotia Monkivtich.

4 4: Mel Chin learned about pre-existing lead poisoning after Hurricane Katrina and created the Fundred Dollar Bill Project to raise awareness. Safehouse served as a repository for the project ( 5: Chin invited the neighborhood to visit the project before anyone else.

6: Derek Prince, who lost his home and belongings in Hurricane Sandy, was interviewed for the Sandy Storyline project. Here he walks in front of another destroyed house in Brooklyn, New York. 7: Artists created a wellness center for evacuees at the Park Slope Armory.

8: As part of the Creative Recovery Pilot Program in Queensland, Australia, artist Birgit Grapentin worked with children to create a sculpture called The Tree of Happiness. The pilot program was created by Arts Queensland and the Australia Council.


7 8

Crescent City Conversations



Other projects use art both to unite people and to ask important post-disaster questions. Such was the case in New Orleans, where artists launched a many-sided response to Hurricane Katrina, and New Yorkers like Atlas and Premo have paid close attention to the work of Crescent City initiatives like Transforma. This project came together about a year after the hurricane, when the Catholic archdiocese of New Orleans wanted to sell off some storm-damaged buildings it owned, and the artist Robert Ruello, then based in New Orleans, contacted Rick Lowe, whose Project Row Houses had transformed two rundown blocks in Houston into a flourishing art center. Lowe had no interest in reprising the Row Houses project, but he did suggest that a big, unstructured initiative be created to address post-Katrina questions. He invited multimedia artist Sam Durant and California-based arts administrator and consultant Jessica Cusick to join him. “We worked really hard not to decide what we were doing beforehand,” says Cusick. “We wanted to let it evolve and morph as an openended support system for artists who wanted to help in the recovery.” Their initial organizing meeting attracted some 100 local artists, and the final shape of the nationally funded project involved three larger pilot projects; a group of mini-grants for smaller initiatives; and a series of forums, both live and via social media, in which artists and community members could share ideas and problems. The highest-profile pilot project is undoubtedly Mel Chin’s ongoing Fundred Dollar Bill Project, in which he asks children to draw

“I’d like to see artists on every board in the city administration.” — Jessica Cusick, cultural affairs manager, Santa Monica

their own money, which he then delivers to Congress to raise awareness of New Orleans’s dangerous levels of lead contamination. “The storm may have brought me to New Orleans because I wanted to help,” says Chin, “but the project is a response to another disaster that preexisted it.” Chin is now working to raise awareness about childhood lead poisoning—and its resulting brain damage, behavioral violence, and increased levels of crime—in industrial cities across the nation. A Transforma project that affected Arts & Democracy’s Caron Atlas deeply—she visited New Orleans and had a small role in developing it—was HOME, New Orleans?, an ambitious alliance of local universities, art centers, schools, community organizations, and community organizers. This many-faceted project involved a whole galaxy of discussions, classes, and art projects addressing the city’s needs—a smorgasbord of the various roles that art can have in disaster recovery, from history-oriented bus tours to theater workshops to pointed discussions of social inequities. Civic Engagement, Officially

Jessica Cusick is cultural affairs manager for the City of Santa Monica, California. Her experience with Transforma underlined the roles artists can play in making cities better after crises—and in general.

After flooding in Queensland, Australia, teens in Ipswich were asked to define resilience. Their responses were projected on walls for the Writing’s Off the Wall project, part of the Creative Recovery Pilot Program.

Photo by Scotia Monkivitch

installations set in interactive spaces in unconventional locations,” says Premo, to construct spaces where people can gather, see the stories, share their own, and engage in dialogue about issues that the stories raise.

Photo by Scotia Monkivtich

“Artists are often anchors in their neighborhoods,” she says. “They’re the kind of people who remember the quirky little restaurant or shop that was destroyed; they have a feel for what makes neighborhoods vital and individual, and they can help restore the color, liveliness, and balance of everyday life. And they are very good at working with limited resources, which is a plus in this era of reduced municipal budgets. I’d like to see artists on every board in the city administration.” Cusick says she has had an initial conversation with Santa Monica’s emergency preparedness manager about making artists regular contributors to disaster planning. That idea, like Atlas’s Arts and Wellness Relief and Recovery Corps, is embryonic. But half a world away, in the state of Queensland in northern Australia, artists and other arts professionals, working with the state and national government’s arts organizations, have taken a few further steps by creating a pilot project to explore how artists can help in disaster relief and recovery, and how the arts can be seen as one of the industries that ought to be shored up after a disaster. It all started after a devastating cyclone and massive flooding hit Queensland in the Southern Hemisphere summer of 2010—2011. An insurance company created a recovery fund, and a group of local arts organizations, intending to apply for a grant as a group, went to Arts Queensland, the state arts agency, for a letter of support. Coincidentally, after the flooding, Arts Queensland had launched discussions with the national art-support body, the Australia Council, about ways that arts organizations could help in recovery. “What came out of that was the Creative Recovery Pilot Project, a partnership across all of those organizations,” says Scotia Monkivitch, manager of the project and director of Helicon, an organization in Melbourne that does arts-focused community development. “We asked the question, what role does art and culture play in a community’s recovery after a natural disaster?” The project set up and documented a series of arts-based disaster-response projects across three hard-hit regions in the state. These projects included, among others, Coral Harmony, a community choir drawn from the badly hit Cassowary Coast; an alliance between a Melbourne circus and a new circus school in the Lockyer Valley; and The Writing’s Off the Wall, a project in Ipswich in which teens were asked to define resilience and their responses were turned into wall projections. The pilot culminated in a year-end report that included recommendations for enlisting artists and the arts in disaster recovery—and how to assist artists and arts institutions in their own recovery efforts. “We haven’t had any response,” says Monkivitch. “We’re in a difficult period financially; the Queensland government is new as of this year, and has made some vicious cuts to arts funding. So it’s an interesting time to be trying to work within these frames.” But Monkivitch points out that Queensland was hit again by flooding following torrential rains this year. Time will tell if Mother Nature can become the best advocate for Creative Recovery, and other artistled disaster-recovery plans, in the halls of power.

is a frequent contributor to Public Art Review. He is the managing editor of The Line (, an online publication about creative culture in the Twin Cities.


Artists Needed

Nine good reasons for cities to call on artists to help with disaster recovery


Artists have proven their willingness to help in many ways, from rubbish removal to performance, by volunteering in massive numbers after disasters like 9/11, Sandy, Katrina, and the Japanese tsunami.


They are often media-savvy and can set up effective online resources to connect people and coordinate local relief and recovery efforts, including handling volunteerism.


Clichés about elitism, dreaminess, and disengagement notwithstanding, today’s artists are generally “plugged into” their communities; they know their neighbors and are good sources of information about their needs.


They usually know and value local institutions— especially the quirky, offbeat, and colorful ones that add value to communities—and will advocate for their restoration.


They’re resourceful and usually know how to do a lot with limited financial and other resources.


They’re creative problem solvers, used to thinking outside established paradigms.


Artists not only entertain and amuse dislocated and relocated people, but they inspire people to see themselves as fully human, not mere victims of the disaster, hastening psychic recovery and supporting the optimism needed for rebuilding.


Artists can help restore a sense of community and common civic purpose by connecting people through story, song, and other arts.


Artists can help underline civic problems revealed by a disaster and initiate creative conversations about solutions. —J.S.



Healing Arts Five hospitals demonstrate models for integrating art in institutional settings

The past five years have seen an explosion in new hospital construction, and many of these new facilities have highly organized arts programs to fill their blank buildings with sculptures, murals, paintings, even interactive art exhibits. Commissioned art for hospitals is nothing new, of course. But several recent hospital projects suggest new approaches and a more serious attention to the theories connecting public art to public spaces in hospitals. One theory is that art is simply good for healing patients’ minds and bodies (see sidebar on “Healthful Research”). At the same time, percent-for-art programs (where extant) have dedicated budgets to public art. San Francisco’s ordinance, for instance, requires 2 percent of new construction budgets be spent on public art; for the city’s Laguna Honda Hospital, that translated into a dedicated $3.9 million art budget. Public art also serves “a propaganda role for the hospital,” argues Jane Macnaughton, a Durham University medical humanities professor, in her influential 2007 study “Art in Hospital Spaces,” published in the International Journal of Cultural Policy. Macnaughton argues that art gives an impression that a hospital is forward-thinking and technologically sophisticated. “It is art with a political spin,” she writes. She also argues that the increase in art-filled hospitals reflects a new reality for health-care facilities: that they are becoming public spaces like city squares and shopping malls, and thus when they are “aestheticized” with art, they are a symbol of progress for their communities.

ABOVE: At the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, patient Brittany Falcone gets some air in front of Thomas Burke’s Parallax Knots (2012).

Photo courtesy of the John Hopkins Children’s Center.

BY Alyssa Ford

While it may burnish an institution’s image, art in hospitals (as opposed to museums) popularizes what might otherwise be rarified or exclusive media. “By commissioning art specifically for hospitals, we’re doing something very new and very old at the same time,” says Nancy Rosen, art curator at the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore. “We’re taking art back to its fundamental roots, when art was neither distant nor untouchable, but very personal, and meant to serve a practical purpose.” The five hospitals that follow have made public art a major part of their identity—and, in so doing, provide examples of how art and healing are intertwined in our modern age. PUBLIC ART REVIEW | SPRING / SUMMER 2013 | PUBLICARTREVIEW.ORG

Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center

Photo by Keith Weller.

at JohnS Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

The new Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is massive: more than 1.6 million square feet, 560 private rooms, and 33 operating rooms, ensconced in two 12-story towers. It’s the first building in Baltimore’s history to cost more than $1 billion. It’s also turning heads for its emphasis on original art. More than 70 U.S. artists were commissioned to make 500 paintings, sculptures, and murals. Nancy Rosen, curator for Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, one of the two new towers, says she wasn’t sure how so many artists would feel about being “directed” by an arts committee. Forty artists were specifically asked to create works based on popular children’s books, such as Curious George and Goodnight Moon. “But the artists immediately responded,” says Rosen. “They were inspired by the book idea, and they were inspired by the idea of working on a hospital. Many of them told me stories about the people in their lives. They said, ‘My eleven-year-old has a heart condition,’ or ‘My father-in-law is being treated for cancer.’” A little extra money made the process that much more fun. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $120 million, most of which was spent on art, including a menagerie of super-sized fiberglass sculptures created by artist and theater set designer Robert Israel. These animal sculptures include a winged purple cow, a pair of cubist rhinos, and a school of yellow puffer fish that look like startled Cheep-Cheeps from Super Mario Bros. The sculptures were made by a specialty set-design company in Seattle and trucked across the country. Israel’s 22-foot Ostrich (2008—2012) is a primary attention-getter, complemented by a massive blue ostrich egg that sits perched on the information desk. The exterior of the building is also a giant art installation—the biggest of Spencer Finch’s career. Finch, a Brooklyn artist who likes to work with light and color, spent months in planning meetings with the hospital’s architects and engineers. The Finchdesigned exterior skin is made up of two-layered glass shadow boxes, each framed in aluminum. One layer has a fused pattern that looks like a hybrid of brushstrokes and rippling water. The other layer is made of colored glass in 26 hues Finch selected from Monet’s favorite palette. (The artist was inspired by a trip to Giverny, Monet’s restored gardens in France.) On sunny days, the building looks like a confetti celebration of rippling color; on cloudy days, the shadow-box skin makes the building downright somber. It’s an apt play of sorrow and joy—just like a hospital, where people die and are also born.


ABOVE: Robert Israel’s painted fiberglass and aluminum Ostrich is one of 11 super-sized sculptures he was commissioned to create for the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center in Baltimore.


ABOVE: Ken von Roenn interviewed several cancer patients at the Norton Cancer Institute before going to work on Life Nurtured, a 30-foot-by-30-foot stained glass window focused on forms that reminded him of growth. BELOW: For Hands of Connection, Ché Rhodes cast 36 pairs of hands—including those of patients, doctors, nurses and family members—in glass. Together the blocks form a partition wall.

Norton Cancer Institute–Downtown Louisville, Kentucky Ellie Nunn is a spirited seven-year-old who loves soccer, dance, volleyball, and her two little sisters. She also spent nearly two years fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. During her childhood, Ellie went through chemotherapy, painful spinal taps, and countless trips to the hospital. But through it all, she maintained her sunny disposition. Her mom, Deann Nunn, quit her job so she could stay with her “Ellie Cat” through every appointment and hospital stay. Now Ellie’s bond with her mom is immortalized in glass at the new 65,000-square-foot Norton Cancer Institute in downtown Louisville. Artist Ché Rhodes, an art professor at the University of Louisville, cast a block of glass from a mold of Ellie’s small hand lying gently on top of her mom’s. The piece is one of 36 similar casts—a patient holding hands with her favorite nurse, a retiring surgeon with a man he operated on, and an adult daughter with her aged mother. The glass blocks form a partition wall in the patient waiting area called Hands of Connection (2011). “I’m not really an ‘art person’ but it was really a big deal for me to see my hand holding on to Ellie’s,” says Deann Nunn. “It felt almost like a trophy. Ellie had finished her last rounds of treatment, and seeing that glass block, I said to myself, ‘We did it. My little girl was so strong, and we did it.’” Hands of Connection is one of several major art pieces commissioned for the new cancer center. Lynnie Meyer, the chief development officer at Norton Healthcare, says the hospital’s arts committee sought Louisville artists willing to get involved with the patients. Artist Kenneth von Roenn Jr., whose mother struggled with cancer, took that charge seriously. He spent days interviewing patients about

TOP/BOTTOM: Photos by Dean Lavenson.




TOP LEFT: Photo by Nick Merrick. TOP RIGHT: Photo by Bruce Damonte. BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Bruce Damonte. BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Johnny Quirin.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Viktor Joyner’s mother and baby whale sculptures and Aquamoon’s painted kelp forest at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. Horizontal Feeling by Japanese sculptor Takenobu Igarashi at Laguna Honda Hospital. Tracy van Duinen and Todd Osborne’s Happiness Is mural at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Arlan Huang’s glass disks installed in a niche at Laguna Honda Hospital.



ABOVE: Aquamoon’s coral sculptures set the stage for an aquarium on the second floor lobby of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, where nearly every wall and surface on 23 floors includes art.

their cancer journeys before sketching out Life Nurtured (2011), a 30-by-30-foot stained glass window that overlooks the hospital meditation garden. In vivid blues and oranges, the window includes forms related to growth: a tree, flowers, a nautilus shell. Scattered about the window are inlaid glass jewels that “symbolically represent what I think of as seeds of hope,” wrote von Roenn in his artist statement.

Kids also collaborated on a colorful, 160-foot-long bricolage mural at the center of the main lobby. They helped mosaic artists Tracy Van Duinen and Todd Osborne define happiness: birds, tall sunflowers, sparkles, and clouds were a few of their suggestions. The sunny piece has an appropriate title: Happiness Is (2010).

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

At 23 floors, the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital is the tallest hospital in the world—and art is installed on nearly every wall and surface. Up the driveway you’ll see Healing Waters, a sculpture by Mark Davis. Step into the lobby and you’ll find near life-size sculptures of a mother humpback whale and her calf, by artist Victor Joyner. At the elevator bank is a floor-to-ceiling image of an undersea kelp forest by Aquamoon, a public art collaborative in Chicago. The image on the wall has a cool feature—it’s connected with a projection system that allows for water effects and various sea critters to emerge and disappear on the walls. The second floor features more Aquamoon art: three fantastical coral sculptures that look like something out of a Pixar movie. The playful atmosphere is the result of more than 20 partnerships with cultural institutions around Chicago, including the Chicago Art Institute, which installed 49 reproductions of paintings, sculptures, and prints from its collection, spanning themes of families, animals, and nature. Chicago artist-illustrator Steve Musgrave was commissioned to paint a massive mural on the 19th floor, focused on animal families. On the 12th floor, multimedia artist John Manning created

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Administrators at the $286 million Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, enlisted more than 9,000 Michigan children over a two-year span to make artworks for the new 444,000-square-foot hospital. Scott LaFontsee, owner of LaFontsee Galleries in Grand Rapids, selected about 10 percent of the art, or 2,000 pieces, to be permanently installed in the hospital. LaFontsee and his staff of 12 custom-painted frames for about 800 of the artworks. The effort was truly a community affair involving several arts nonprofits, youth groups, and schools. LaFontsee also ran a series of free workshops at his gallery that encouraged kids to make 3D paper flowers, stamp cutouts, and clay sculptures. For one piece, children at the East Martin Christian School wrote their wishes and words of comfort for future patients at the hospital. Local artist Elaine Tolsma-Harlow fashioned the strips, which bore sayings like “I wish you get better” and “I wish you to laugh and smile and just have a good day,” into mixed-media pieces called Nest of Hope.

Photo by Pete Eckert.

Chicago, Illinois

an installation of 15 flat screens that show the faces of children. Also on the 12th floor, a set of 16 stained glass windows by Chicago artist David Lee Csicsko depict young trees and water, a stunning feature of the hospital’s interfaith chapel. The hospital also commissioned more than 100 pieces of art meant to be displayed at a child’s eye level, including a threedimensional box on the 21st floor with peepholes. Short patients and visitors can peek inside for a look at the dollhouse dioramas and imaginative dreamscapes. Laguna Honda Hospital San Francisco, California


is a freelance writer in Minneapolis who writes about architecture and design. ALYSSA FORD

Healthful Research The delicate art of proving the benefits of art In the budget-lean recession years, hospital art programs, like arts initiatives everywhere, have faced increasing pressure to prove a practical, measurable value. While many general public art programs focus on concepts like cultural capital, hospitals’ unique healing mission has led in a different direction: the same doubleblind experimentation used to evaluate healing therapies from drugs to exercise. Below are some recent findings: In 2011, researcher Upali Nanda and her team hung different types of artworks on the walls of the patient lounge in a psychiatric facility, a place where the patients spent most of their time. Nurses tracked how much and how often the patients needed medication to control aggressive behaviors. The researchers found that patients needed significantly fewer doses of medication when realistic nature artworks were hung on the lounge walls. The psychiatric facility estimated it might enjoy a $27,000 per year cost savings on medication. In 2009 and 2010, Nanda and her team hung “restorative” nature artworks on the walls of an emergency room waiting area. The researchers found that when the art was present, people in the waiting area made fewer query calls to the front desk. This research was published by the Center for Health Design. In 2004, researcher Rosalia Staricoff showed images of visual art on a screen to women giving birth in an English hospital. She found that the women who viewed the art images delivered their babies 2.1 hours faster on average than a control group at the same hospital who did not see the images. This research was published by Arts Council England. In a 1993 study, researcher Roger S. Ulrich and his team found that postoperative heart patients in Sweden switched to moderate pain medications faster when


In 2005, San Francisco’s health department shuttered the landmark 1926 Spanish Revival Laguna Honda, and the city subsequently passed a bond to build a new hospital, which sits in San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks neighborhood on a 62-acre campus. The facility that replaced the beloved old hospital is interesting for the way art has been seamlessly integrated into the space. Instead of a generic gate into the parking garage, for example, there’s a bifold gate of stainless steel, brushed with a water ripple and cloud design by artist Diana Pumpelly Bates. The beige safety handrails found in virtually every facility across America are here replaced with cast bronze corridor handrails in reddish-brown and oxidized copper hues, designed by artist Cliff Garten. “The hospital planners really did try to think about the expressive potential of the infrastructure,” says Garten. Indeed, art serves as the very organizing principle of the hospi-

tal. Residents of the long-term care facility don’t live on the “Blue” floor or the “Orange” floor. They live on the Diane Andrews Hall floor (glass mosaic artist) or the Terry Hoff floor (oil painter). Each artist selected for a floor was responsible for the entire floor, so each level truly showcases the identity of the creative mind behind it. Residents who step off the elevator on the wrong floor don’t just know they’re in the wrong place. They feel it. The hospital also maintains a balance between old and new. New York artist Owen Smith worked with the architecture team to design custom niches for his ceramic tile mosaics The Four Elements (2010) and Building the Iron Horse (2010). Both murals— of muscled workers laboring on the Golden Gate Bridge, and a determined farmer turning earth with his plow and horse—were inspired by the work of Glen Wessel, a WPA-era artist who made the lobby murals for the old Laguna Honda. There’s plenty of contemporary art, too, including Skydancing (2008), a massive installation by Japanese sculptor Takenobu Igarashi. Strung across the hospital’s outside pavilion are oversized aluminum blossoms suspended on aircraft cables. “It was important to us to commission art that remembered the old Laguna Honda, but also signaled to the city that this was a new era,” says Kate Patterson, the public art lead at the San Francisco Arts Commission.

they were exposed to nature images. Patients who were not exposed to the nature images stayed on heavy narcotic pain medications longer. The paper was presented at the 33rd meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research in Germany. In a 1990 unpublished study, University of California at Davis psychology professor Richard Coss showed nature images to extremely stressed presurgical patients. The patients viewed “non-arousing nature images” as well as “arousing and aesthetically pleasing nature images.” Coss reported that when the patients viewed the “non-arousing nature images,” they had systolic blood pressure levels 10 to 15 points lower than when they viewed the arousing and pleasing nature images. —A.F.

Art and Healing Organizations Around the world, organizations that bridge arts and health care are working on a variety of fronts, namely on art therapy and putting fine art in hospitals. These two organizations address art in the public realm: The Global Alliance for Arts & Health ( Dedicated to advancing art as integral to health care, the former Society for the Arts in Healthcare holds an annual international conference. The 2013 conference focused on healing communities through the arts. Art and Healing Network ( An online resource for anyone interested in the healing potential of art, the Art and Healing Network is seeking nominations for artists age 18 to 35 who are change makers in using art to heal. Nominations for this international award are needed by September 15, 2013.




Sanctuary Artist Topher Delaney, whose medium is the land, talks about healing gardens and public art. Interview by Karen Olson

Q: Besides color, are there other things that you do differently when creating a healing space?


grew up around artists. Her brother’s godfather was Marcel Duchamp. Isamu Noguchi’s studio was a block from her house. Over nightly dinners she listened to artists like Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg discuss—and complain about—the art system. She realized early that she would do something different. “I didn’t want to go into the gallery system,” she says. “I wanted to work in land.” Noguchi encouraged her to study landscape architecture. “These people control the site. It would be good for you to learn this,” he told her. Today nearly all of her work is, as she says, unsellable. Delaney lives in San Francisco. She is currently finishing Arcimboldo’s Edible Garden for the San Francisco Botanical Garden and has been commissioned as the public artist for the development of a large-scale plaza at 10th and Market in San Francisco. She is also working on a private commission in Marin County for Guide Dogs for the Blind: a suspended Braille sculpture composed of stones she has gathered from the organization’s members.

TOP: Photo by Seth Affoumado. BOTTOM: Photos by Topher Delaney. Previous Page: Photo by Topher Delaney.


Historically, such sites were developed because a spiritually energetic situation evidenced itself. All of these sites have some guiding principles. Lourdes, for instance, has water coming out of the ground and sits on energetic ley lines. Stonehenge is on ley lines. Currently, artists follow other guidelines. You need to have some type of controlled passage, some type of boundary. You need protection of some kind. If there’s a child who has cancer, or someone with Alzheimer’s, they need protection. If you are working on a full piece—not just a sculpture or a bench— then you need to know who’s maintaining it. You need to go from back of house, which is maintenance, to front of house, which is what the artist is doing. I went to see a beautiful Maya Lin piece, for example, at the University of Michigan. It looked like crap. And I thought, it’s like no one cares about the maintenance. It just was abysmal. Another consideration is climate. If you’re working in health care,

Q: How did you get started creating healing spaces and sanctuaries? I had cancer when I was 39. It was very virulent, and I had a very, very poor prognosis. Some of Isamu Noguchi’s work felt like a sanctuary to me—and I’m from Europe so I grew up seeing sanctuaries outside French churches—and there was nothing around me like that. So I thought maybe I could make gardens, or a place for people to go. I was two weeks out of surgery when I received a call to compete

ABOVE: Before and after images of an 800-square-foot atrium garden Delaney designed for the Marin Cancer Center. TOP: Artist Topher Delaney. OPPOSITE: The Marin garden includes flowing water and several plants that are used to create pharmaceuticals effective in treating various forms of cancer.


for USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center to create a healing garden. I was in chemotherapy and I looked like a rat. The architect who called me in on the project said, “Don’t tell them that you have cancer, because this is a long project. It’s going to be 10 years out.” I showed the panel my work. It’s very colorful. I said, “So what do you think of my work?” They all looked at me and said, “We hate it. It’s way too artistic. Our patients are very ill, and cancer’s a serious condition. This work is too colorful.” Then they asked, “Is there anything that you can tell us that would give us other information?” I replied, “I think I am the only one at this table who is taking CMF.” That is cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil 5-FU. “None of you are patients. You are the agency, the managers, and you’re concerned about us. We want to live. We don’t need a sanctuary garden about passage off the planet. We want passage on the planet.” I thought it was the worst interview I’d ever been in. But we got the project. So that was the beginning.



Delaney’s 12,000-square-foot garden at the San Diego Children’s Hospital offers easy pedestrian access and can be viewed from hospital rooms. It includes fountains, a windmill, medicinal and botanical gardens, and sculptural benches made of tile, concrete, and powder-coated metal. The polychrome walls that define the space are embedded with 375 tile forms depicting the indigenous flora and fauna.


no one can go outside when it’s windy because they can’t take it, and anyone with cancer can’t go outside because different drugs makes you highly sensitive to light. Access is also important. I just visited the Moores Cancer Center at UC–San Diego. The hospital has the most beautiful bamboo meditation garden. But there was not a soul in it. The garden is two rooms away from the infusion center, and no one wants to leave the person who’s getting the infusion. So I was trying to work with the engineers and facilities to move the doors, just to provide access to that garden. It’s not just that you’re making a piece; you have to understand infrastructure and architecture. Also, you have to understand your public. I did a garden for pediatric oncology patients. The funding agency—which was a trustee group of basically terrific grandmothers—wanted a garden with bamboo and water. That made sense to them. My proposal was a colorful garden in which you walked through a dinosaur. They hated it. But there was one trustee who was a young parent. She said, “You want something for yourself. I want something for us, the young mothers, because our children have other siblings.” And that had never been brought up. The garden went forward with the dinosaur.

“We don’t need a sanctuary garden about passage off the planet. We want passage on the planet.”

Not really. Hospitals are a conservative group. It is not the Matisse Chapel, let us put it that way. If you were to propose that now, you would probably get a lot of pushback. “Those nude bodies? No. You need to put some clothes on them.” Public art is difficult now because fear is so much a part of it. A little town outside of San Francisco put some poles up in the median and people were infuriated. Supervisors lost their jobs. I have no idea why you would be angry about little poles. Really, it’s so crazy.

At the request of her local police precinct captain, Delaney created the Isaac Espinosa Memorial Garden as a place of beauty and rest for officers in Bayview, a high-crime neighborhood in San Francisco, California. To her knowledge, this is the only police precinct garden in the United States.

TOP: Photo by Topher Delaney. Bottom: Photo by Saxon Holt.

Q: Are you seeing increased opportunities for artists to work on healing spaces?

Q: What’s your advice to artists wanting to work in public art?


is executive editor of Public Art Review.

To help children regain manual dexterity, the Beth Israel garden (below) includes this water table shaped like Manhattan, plus a card shark table for playing cards and an octopus table with sand trays.


Present everything as a temporary solution and at least you can get something up. Once it becomes not temporary, it’s a whole other story. Then you’re working with agencies, and it depends on how visionary they are. Start with what you can do and what you know how to do. If the work you create ends up being reduced from your original vision, it’s probably not a good thing for you to continue. For example, if someone likes the butterflies that you did and doesn’t realize that your issue is not butterflies but rather something about migratory patterns or more politically complicated, you’re going to be asked to make butterflies over and over. You really have to have nerves of steel.

Top/bottom: Photos by Topher Delaney.


At the Beth Israel Hospital in New York, Delaney created this garden retreat for children recovering from neurological disorders resulting from brain cancer. Located on the 14th floor overlooking Charles Schurtz Park and the East River, the garden’s laser-cut and patinated steel fence depicts the 13 bridges surrounding Manhattan and numerous children’s tales, offering opportunities for parents and medical staff to tell stories to the patients. The ground surface is an undulating, vibrantly colored mosaic made from resilient rubber created by SAF DEK. It features fish, octopi, and trout, and a “Where’s Waldo?” sense of discovery.



The New

Art of Mourning Public artists create works that acknowledge grief and allow communities to heal

A memorial used to be a predictable thing: the sculpted likeness of someone famous—a general, say, or the founder of a town, perhaps fallen soldiers. In other words, people (usually white and male) who fit an accepted narrative of greatness, who could bind citizens together with a shared sense of history and culturally acceptable chest thumping. That’s changing. These days, “victims are commemorated as often, if not more so, than heroes,” asserts Erika Doss in her book Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America. So how are artists proceeding when

there is no “official” narrative? Or when the official narrative—as in the case of people who died homeless, as the result of genocide, or are buried in a potter’s field—actually consists of erasure? The task is fraught. In the projects profiled here, the complications demanded time, requiring the artists’ perseverance for years or even decades. And whatever artistic objects were produced were not an end in themselves but a means to build community, write a more nuanced history, and facilitate ongoing rituals of grieving.

Photo by Pamela Kliment.

by Jacqueline White

A Permanent Place More than 13 years ago, a group of clergy, social workers, activists, “Even at the beginning, as our design team began to explore and homeless and formerly homeless people began standing vigil various locations throughout the city and conceptually explore issues upon learning of the death of someone living on the streets of Seattle. surrounding place, death, and homelessness—along with poverty, The ongoing vigils, which honor the lives of those who have died, gender and racial bias, and many other taboo subjects—it became still take place at noon on Wednesdays in front of the Seattle Justice clear that we were going to need to do some serious contextual Center. Since the vigils began, at least 380 people in the city have died work to bring this to fruition,” says Wiegman. Well versed in naviwhile homeless. gating the bureaucratic entanglements that can greet art situated on “A lot of people avert their eyes,” says Janice Connelly, a formerly public property, this design team turned out to be a prescient choice homeless woman who participates in the vigils with a group called for a project dreamed up by a group of activists for the homeless. Women in Black. Others are “hostile.” Connelly has watched Getting Approval passersby throw away the After the team looked at pieces of paper the women nearly 20 sites throughout the hand out that are printed downtown core, the homewith the name, age, and cause less community chose the of death of the person they former site of a WPA soup are honoring. Though some kitchen in a derelict corner of people are respectful, Connelly a park named for renowned says, others in rainy Seattle civic architect/activist Victor “take our handout and use it as Steinbrueck (who saved Pike an umbrella.” Place Market and designed the Women in Black’s vigils Space Needle). That decision at the Justice Center are put them on a collision course coordinated by WHEEL, a with Seattle’s powers-thathomeless women’s organizbe, as the location lies within ing effort, and the Church of the Pike Place Market HistoriMary Magdalene, an ecumenical District, adjacent to the cal day ministry to low-income market itself, the top tourist women. About a decade destination in the city. In addiAbove: As part of the Homeless Remembrance Project in Seattle, artist Clark Wiegman created Leaves of ago as the group stood vigil, tion, owners of pricey condos Remembrance with the names of people who died in the streets. They are attached to sidewalks througout Connelly says, a desire began overlooking the park claimed the city. Previous Page: Wiegman’s Tree of Life provides a place of remembrance at Victor Steinbrueck to take shape to create somethat any sculpture sited there Park. Steinbrueck was an architect who advocated for ordinary working people and the poor. place enduring where Seatwould block their water views. tle’s deceased homeless people “could be remembered in a dignified Even though the team’s plans for the site harkened back to the manner no different from anyone else.” So WHEEL formed a Homeoriginal park design, Wiegman describes the review process with the less Remembrance Project Committee. In 2006 the committee created Pike Place Market Historical Commission as difficult. a design competition and put out a request for proposals for the Seat “It’s hard to know,” says Carol Cameron, a formerly homeless tle design and arts community to help them create a homeless place woman who is now board chair of the Homeless Remembrance of remembrance. Project, “whether it was because there were homeless people involved Later, in 2007, through a request-for-qualifications process, the or not. I can’t say it was deliberate, but it felt like that sometimes.” committee hired artist Clark Wiegman, landscape architect Karen After two years of review (including three major redesigns and reloKiest, and architect Kim Lokan with a preliminary planning grant. cations within the park), the project was turned down in a unanimous The team began by researching memorials and activist public art projdecision. Six months later that decision was overturned on appeal to the ects of all types throughout the world. While there were numerous hearing examiner—a stunning and virtually unprecedented occurrence. ephemeral homeless memorials, they found only one permanently “They did delay us,” concludes Cameron, “but they didn’t stop us.” sited project, consisting of a list of names on a sheet of paper within a display box outside a rectory in Montreal. The team presented this What They Made research—consisting of over 100 projects—at more than 25 commuAs a work of public art, the Homeless Remembrance Project exists nity workshops and city planning meetings over a three-year period. in two conceptual parts. A sculpture with leaf cutouts that form the It became clear that if they were to build a homeless place of image of a tree now stands in the corner of Victor Steinbrueck Park remembrance, it would be the world’s first permanent publicly sited that is slated to serve as a gateway to a renewed central waterfront. homeless memorial. Over the next five years of struggle to actualize Tree of Life is framed by spectacular views of the city, Puget Sound, the project, with a total budget of around $200,000, the challenge of and the Olympic Mountains. making the case for such a memorial became apparent. Because of a city ordinance prohibiting memorials with multiple


Photo courtesy the Homeless Remembrance Project.

The Homeless Rememberance Project




“The feeling that it’s within your control to commemorate your loved one is an important feeling to restore,” says Melinda Hunt, an artist who, for the past two decades, has sought to do just that for relatives of the 850,000 people buried since the Civil War on Hart Island, a potter’s field in Long Island Sound. To help “visualize the largest cemetery in America,” Hunt has photographed the island, produced a film, and created drawings of people buried on the island based on photographs sent by relatives. But her role as an artist—and executive director of The Hart Island Project—has also involved negotiating with New York City’s Department of Correction, which administers the cemetery, to provide access to the restricted island for family members. (Prisoners from Rikers Island conduct the burials, often leaving behind offerings of food or crosses made of sticks.) “If we can’t visit in physical space,” Hunt’s solution is to “visit in virtual space.” On the project’s website (, she’s created the Traveling Cloud Museum, a searchable database tied to a system of clocks that measure how long someone has been buried in anonymity. Rolling over each clock reveals a person’s name upside down. When someone is identified by someone who knew them, or knew who they were, their name turns right-side up and appears in a circle, indicating wholeness. The person is no longer anonymous but “live.” To allow family members to “visit” a gravesite via Google Earth, Hunt is also working with a law firm to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the GPS coordinates of the graves. —J.W.

As part of The Hart Island Project, artist Melinda Hunt made ink drawings of people buried on the island based on photographs sent by relatives. These images are of Sidney Grimes and Jessica Kijak.

names in a city park, Wiegman also created Leaves of Remembrance. Similar in form to the cutouts in the sculpture, each bronze leaf bears the name of a person who has died while living on the street. The leaves are scattered as if by the wind on Seattle’s sidewalks, attached to concrete with epoxy. Wiegman notes that Seattle’s Department of Transportation master plan contained “useful language about freedom of expression and revitalizing the pedestrian experience.” That language and a receptive Design Commission turned out to be helpful in making the case for the Leaves of Remembrance to the City. A Personal Stake

For Wiegman, the Homeless Remembrance Project turned out not to be just another worthy commission for a worthy public space. As the date for the dedication of Tree of Life drew near last October, Wiegman realized that on that exact date, 42 years previously, his father had walked out, pushing the family toward a financial precipice. “We were lucky not to be on the streets,” he says, recalling that his paper route money paid the heating bill. Wiegman’s family received support from social services and churches. To place each grouping of leaves, the Homeless Remembrance Project Committee members reach out to the same kinds of organizations, churches, and social service agencies with which they already have relationships, reinforcing the outreach and organizing goals of the group. Opening a Dialog

Now that Tree of Life has been installed, Wiegman has been app-roached by a few of the condo owners who initially testified against the place of remembrance, now claiming a change of heart. “What the condo owners are getting,” he says, “is a space that used to be a drug-dealing haven that’s now a community resource. Clergy bring people there to counsel. It’s a featured stop on art walks. And as we hoped, people from all walks of life meet there and talk.” “The sculpture itself doesn’t begin to tell the whole story,” says Laurie Ames, who administered two grants for the project through the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Now, when she walks by Tree of Life, she gets goose bumps remembering the incredible perseverance that brought it into being, as well as its impact: “I think it opened up a dialog between the homeless community, the faith community, and the city, and that’s ongoing.” Cameron says she gets goose bumps too. “First of all, it’s a thing of beauty. The glass plaza below is blue—it’s calming, almost like water. Someone homeless can say, ‘This is for me. I’m homeless, but I’m part of this.’” The project can stand as inspiration: a determined group of impoverished women successfully took on city hall. But when Cameron looks at the cut-out leaves, she also thinks of homeless people she knows who have died. Because homelessness is, unfortunately, ongoing, leaves bearing the names of the deceased will continue to fall on the sidewalks of Seattle, the names also catalogued at where loved ones can share memories. JACQUELINE WHITE has written for numerous publications, including Utne Reader. She is the daughter of sculptor Nancy Metz White, whose large-scale tree forms are installed in two Milwaukee parks.

TOP/BOTTOM: Images courtesy the artist.

Identifying the Anonymous The Hart Island Project



A Beautiful Place To Come Home To

Top/BOTTOM: Photos by Lily Yeh.

The Rwanda Healing Project Lily Yeh first toured Rwanda in 2004, a decade after the brutal genocide that claimed as many as a fifth of the country’s citizens. While visiting a village in the Rugerero Sector where people lived near a crude mass grave, Yeh was struck by the absence of adults outside: “They were suffering alone and in isolation in their own houses.” In the beginning, Yeh said, “I didn’t just go directly, ‘Tell me your story, I am going to help you heal.’ No, not like that. It was just helping them get through the day—the deep trauma.” But eventually, Yeh began to sketch and ask herself, “As an artist, what can I do?” Her vision of turning the mass grave into a beautiful mosaic monument eventually brought the villagers out of their individual houses. For a proper burial, they insisted the bones needed to be buried underground, which turned out to be a major construction challenge as the village sits on hard volcanic rock. When the Rugerero Genocide Memorial Park—one part of Yeh’s Rwanda Healing Project—was completed in April 2007, people walked from many surrounding villages to attend the dedication. For the genocide survivors to descend into the “bone chamber,” Yeh says, was “like touching the nerve of the national grief. People were screaming and shaking, so they had to take them to places of rest to comfort them.” Yet the experience was ultimately cathartic. “I felt most grateful to have the opportunity to design a space where people would feel welcome enough to look at the deepest wounds and then be able to pour out their grief and deepest sorrow and give it to the space,” Yeh says. “When they saw the monument, they said, ‘Our loved ones can come home because there is this beautiful place to come to.’”

Yeh has continued yearly visits to the village, as she defines her art not just as attending to the past, but creating hope for the future. And that requires providing economic opportunities for the villagers in the form of sewing machines, as well as basic necessities such as rain barrels to catch fresh water. ––J.W.

ABOVE: Every year since 2007, people have come from surrounding villages to visit the Rugerero Genocide Memorial Park, where the bones of people who died in the 1994 genocide were given a proper burial. TOP: Artist Lily Yeh, who works with communities around the world, designed the park and monument as a place for people to pour out their grief. She returns to visit the village every year.

“Blueprint of Flight“ by Martin Donlin Love Field Airport, Dallas, Texas Technique: Airbrushed colored enamels and sandblasting on safety glass

Glass fabrication by:

PETERS STUDIOS Further Information:

City of Dallas Public Art Collection Photos by Amanda Potter, El Creative


United States:

GLASMALEREI PETERS GmbH Am Hilligenbusch 23 - 25 D - 33098 Paderborn phone: 011 - 49 - 52 51 - 160 97 - 0 fax: 011 - 49 - 52 51 - 160 97 99

PETER KAUFMANN 3618 SE 69th Ave. Portland, OR 97206 phone: 503.781.7223 E-mail:


ON LOCATION Reports from the field



Viva la Evolution

U.S. artists invited to Cuba’s 11th Havana Biennial discover a community passionately engaged in social practice BY Lauren Elder, Kate Connell, and Oscar Melara

Cuba is full of the unpredictable. With the loosening of restrictions on travel, free enterprise, and artistic expression, the country has experienced a remarkable boom in cultural production. Even more unusual is the warm welcome that was extended to artists from the Northern Hemisphere to participate in the Havana Biennial, which until recently was restricted to artists from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. In the spring of 2012, we were among more than 25 artists invited to participate in a hub for social practice projects connected to the biennial: the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de San Agustín, or MAC/SAN, situated in the largely workingclass, suburban neighborhood of San Agustín.

Photo by Lauren Elder.

Cuba’s New Political Art

The Cuban art scene is far more nuanced than the predictable monumental steel portraits and murals of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and other heroes of the 1959 Revolution, and the biennial showcased artworks that express that depth. Examples include the Cuban artistRoberto Fabelo’s Se Soltaron Los Leones: a giant red steel cage whose gaping door gestures longingly toward the blue Straits of Florida

where a red lion “roars” back from the shore break; and an architectural landmark, the Teatro Fausto, whose façade is “crawling” with giant fiberglass ants by Rafael Gomez Barros (Colombia). Among the overtly political pieces was a collaborative project by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov (Russia/USA), Ship of Tolerance, which consists of a full-scale sailing vessel whose sails are quilted from paintings made by over 500 Cuban children. The U.S. government initially denied the artists a license to bring U.S. children to Cuba but overturned the decision on appeal. Thus, Ship of Tolerance opened with a classical music concert performed by children from both countries. Strolling the Malecón, a popular pastime, one encountered a variety of works, including a contribution by Cuba’s prominent artist Kcho. People of Giants (2012) is a gigantic pair of wood and metal oars leaning against the seawall and referencing the bittersweet refrain of emigration. This theme of displacement was dramatically echoed on the lawns of Havana’s fine arts school, the Instituto Superior de Arte, where José Ángel Vincench’s piece Exile (2011–2012) consists of five mini mobile homes that spell the letters of the work’s title.


A Social Practice Laboratory


It was not the theme of exile but of belonging that occupied those who participated in MAC/SAN, under the auspices of Laboratorio Artistico de San Agustín (LASA). During the past three years, Cuban artist Candelario and his French partner Aurélie Sampeur, LASA’s founders, have invited a range of international artists to San Agustín and challenged them to respond to the history, traditions, and material conditions of the local residents. MAC/SAN, a LASA project launched during the last biennial, occupies an abandoned industrial structure and confronts Cuba’s lack of a formal museum dedicated to contemporary art. “But there are no walls, no roof!” exclaimed the interested bemused neighbors. “Where will you hang the paintings?” Precisely. Instead, the repurposed structure was defined as a “social sculpture” by its core planners, who included, in addition to Candelario and Sampeur, the artists Stefan Shankland (France) and Erik Göngrich (Germany), and curator Catherine Sicot (Canada). Access to the roof was provided by a playful stairway created from scrap metal (Andrés Victores), and the street façade was crowned with an illuminated MAC/SAN logo (Stefan Shankland), inciting curiosity and excitement among local youth and their families, who quickly made the space a destination for relevant, provocative ideas and images. Those of us invited to participate in the current biennial shared meals and workspace in the organization’s home base: a repurposed former laundry. Artists from France, Germany, Canada, and Colombia were paired with local artists or architects, who guided, facilitated, and assisted with fabrication and installation during a furiously active ten-day prep period. This daily regimen of on-site creation contributed to an intimacy with the neighbors, who were generous with their time, humor, and any small surplus they had to share. When no truck arrived to transport materials, a family member would chauffeur us in a threewheeled van. There was always a solution to material shortages, and this good-natured improvisational mode was integrated into the process of each piece. Previous LASA projects had prepared San Agustínians for surprises: tropically colored breads in their local bakery, an edible scale model of the town, experimental sound chambers on their lawns, and public “criers” who poetically renamed the numbered

streets. For the 2012 biennial, LASA queried these now seasoned neighbors about what public offerings they would like MAC/SAN to host, thus activating a very real connection to the social imagination of San Agustín. The results of these collective efforts were rich and varied, and are documented on the MAC/SAN blog ( and in a forthcoming publication. Among the undertakings were a videotaped oral history documentation project; a fruit-drying project that distributed food dryers to residents; a theater and dance production featuring local performers; and an exchange of herbal folk medicine. Inspired by Urban Farming

During our January 2012 research visit to San Agustín, we had discovered a rich texture of urban agriculture knit into the fabric of the neighborhood, the site of several organopónicos, state-sponsored farms that produce affordable organic fruits and vegetables. Joining these farms are newer, privately owned enterprises: orchards, vegetable plots, and goat and pig farms, neatly maintained by independent urban farmers who are taking advantage of Cuba’s tentative embrace of private enterprise. We were inspired by these farmers, who welcomed us to their porches and barnyards, to make food a central theme of our work for MAC/SAN. Riffing on the cliché of the museum coffee shop and bookstore, we decided to create a café and a combined map- and book-making project, both of which featured the urban farmers of San Agustín. As artists and foreign visitors, we assumed the dangerous mission of “messing” with people’s culinary tastes and habits. Our methodology was simply to use commonly available foodstuffs, recombining flavors and textures and re-presenting familiar recipes. The introduction of intensive urban agriculture during the Special Period (1990s) has resulted in relatively more abundant food resources for the Cuban people. Our local collaborators helped us select pork, fruits, and vegetables from roadside stands. Fields of bok choy, lettuce, squash, herbs, eggplant, onions, and beets provided an opportunity to explore how these ingredients could be combined, seasoned, prepared, and presented in a way that provoked surprise, pleasure, or enthusiasm. Five local families volunteered to help with SANcafé by shar-

Photo by José Ángel Vincench.



ABOVE: In addition to art based on social practice, exile was a common theme for other artworks at the 2012 Havana Biennial. Cuban artist José Ángel Vincench’s Exile is composed of five mobile homes. PREVIOUS PAGE: Originally launched at the 2011 biennial, MAC/SAN is “social sculpture” that occupies an abandoned industrial structure in Havana’s San Agustín neighborhood. Its illuminated logo was created by French artist Stefan Shankland.



ing various styles of predominantly vegetarian cooking for a series of tasting events at MAC/SAN. Our goal was to create appetizing dishes that would celebrate creative preparation of fresh, seasonal produce. At each event, the crew wore custom-designed delantales, 1950s-style aprons that became their prized personal possessions, as did a recipe book that documented each chef’s inventions. A spirit of generous competition resulted in a dazzling banquet at each tasting. The San Agustín Farm Map and Guide to Flavors, which could be folded as either a map or a book, served as a companion piece to the café. The lushly colored guide had several purposes: to help producers network and buyers to locate the farms, and to serve as “gallery guide” of the café’s food sources. In addition to a hand-drawn map of San Agustín’s farms, the book included portraits and stories to honor the farmers; nutritional information on local cuisine; and a space to write one’s own food stories, dreams for the neighborhood’s future, and songs or dichos—folk sayings about food, like the popular “If you cook like you walk, I’ll eat every bite.” Hidden in the book were ladybugs and tiny jokes for children, who enthusiastically searched them out with magnifying glasses. A third component of the project, Biblioteca SANcafé, grew from our discovery, during our January research period, that residents of San Agustín wished for a local library. Back home, we collected donated laptops and uploaded Spanishlanguage articles on urban agriculture for distribution by memory sticks and DVD. Ultimately, the laptops were donated to the closest public library, where residents continue to download their contents.


TOP: Photo by Victoria Valentine, Arts Observer. MIDDLE/BOTTOM: Photos by Lauren Elder.

Sowing Seeds for Future Practice

We returned home with even greater respect for Cubans’ ability to maintain their ingenuity, humor, and camaraderie, even after decades of economic hardship. We also returned with a renewed faith in the transformative power of social practice—wherever it happens. MAC/SAN’s longterm impact has yet to be gauged, but we have seen the first signs of continuity: A dance-theater group formed during the engagement has committed to ongoing rehearsals; a domestic cook referred to herself with pride as a “culinary artist”; and the local cultural council has committed to support similar initiatives in the future. Candelario writes that the next round of residencies will be for workers who want to frame their production as an art process. What’s the next course on the menu? LAUREN ELDER, an environmental artist and landscape designer, trained at UCLA and UC–Berkeley Extension. Her communitybased projects alternate between sites in North and Latin America and respond to localized needs and desires. Food, water, and climate change adaptations are her special interests. KATE CONNELL and OSCAR MELARA, collaborating as Book and Wheel Works, map edge neighborhoods and document stories of working people’s lives. They create intimate libraries, often of artists’ books, for public use. Handmade games, most recently the Potrero Puzzler, are their way of engaging fellow urbanites with humor and play in order to discuss the possibilities inherent in our shared living environments.

TOP: At one SANcafé food tasting event, devised by artist Lauren Elder, the chef for the day was Inés Maria Arozarena Velasco (front). Assisting her were Karla Candelario León and Lázara Isabel Luace Martinez (the daughter and mother of LASA co-director Candelario), and Julia Uleque Gorguet Arozarena (seated, daughter of Inés). MIDDLE: MAC/SAN interviews were performed live daily and recorded in Spanish, English, and French by Pedro Moya, Leslie Salgado, Catherine Sicot, and I Wei Li. Interviewees included participating artists and visitors, who talked about their experience with MAC/SAN and their thoughts about social practice. BOTTOM: A separate project at the Havana Biennial was Roberto Fabelo’s Se Soltaron Los Leones, consisting of two parts: this red lion emerging from the sea and a red metal cage from which it escaped located in the heart of Havana.

POMPANO DRUM CIRCLE by Bill and Mary Buchen Northeast Transit Center, Pompano Beach, FL Stainless Steel


P u bli c Art Design

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Carol dePelecyn; Memento; 2012 Salvaged steel, concrete, roadway reflectors, metal halide lights. Located at Seattle Public Utilities South Transfer Station. Funded by Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds. Photo by Steve McGehee.



Public Art Review is published by Forecast Public Art, a non-profit arts organization that connects the energies and talents of artists with the needs and opportunities of communities, guiding our partners in creating public art that expresses the community’s sense of place and pride.



Public Art ⁄ Public Works

St. Paul brings public artists into City Hall as partners in creating the city


TOP: Photo by Rachel Summers. BOTTOM: Photo by Tiffany Bolk.

BY Susannah Schoweiler St. Paul, Minnesota, is spearheading a quiet revolution in public art. A 2009 city ordinance includes artists in the regulations by which the city makes and remakes itself. Here, artists don’t merely make sculptures and murals to adorn the urban landscape; they have a meaningful role in city government and participate in the conception, development, and implementation of all manner of city projects. It’s an “upstream” conception in which public art is so deeply placed in the workaday services of the city as to be indistinguishable from them. Equally striking are the hybrid funding structures undergirding the city’s efforts. Long before ArtPlace and the “creative placemaking” boom, with its emphasis on public-private collaboration, there was Public Art Saint Paul. This privately funded nonprofit has, for 25 years, worked with civil engineers, urban planners, and public works staffers of St. Paul’s city agencies to embed artists in a variety of capital projects and programs, and they’ve done so through several mayoral administrations and city council shake-ups. Public Art Saint Paul leverages private funding for “city artists” to work alongside civil servants. “We fund the City Artists in Residence with private dollars so there are no taxpayer monies at stake,” explains Christine Podas-Larson, director of Public Art Saint Paul, “and in return the city agrees to provide our artists a place to work [in City Hall], giving them a seat at the table.” The nonprofit similarly funds the position of Public Art Ordinance Administrator, currently held by Regina Flanagan. In September 2012, Flanagan released guidelines, available in hard copy and online, for interpreting and executing the 2009 Public Art Ordinance. The manual provides definitions and handy, descriptive capsules that translate into everyday language the administrative jargon found


in the actual text of the ordinance, making the ordinance transparent to the artists, architects, engineers, public works staffers, urban planners, politicians, and organizations charged with putting it into action. Indeed, the guidelines are, themselves, an innovation in public art and a model for effective cross-disciplinary teamwork. City Artists in Residence Program

St. Paul’s current “city artist” is Marcus Young, who refers to himself as a “behavioral artist,” has served in the role since 2008, and works closely with the Public Works Department. “When it came time to interview artists for the residency program, everyone assumed we would hire a sculptor,” says Podas-Larson. “That’s what most people

ABOVE: St. Paul’s “City Artists in Residence” Marcus Young, Sarah West, and Amanda Lovelee (left to right). TOP: Amanda Lovelee and Colin Harris’s 25-foot-long Really Big Table project functions as a gathering space and activates streetscapes like this St. Paul plaza. It also encourages the telling and creation of stories through technology and participation. The table’s modular construction makes it easily transportable by bicycle.



think of when they think of a public artist. Then Marcus came in and said, ‘I have a lot of ideas and experience I’m eager to share with you, but I don’t make anything.’ Some people got nervous when they heard that, but others got excited. In the end, we recognized the promise of what Marcus’s fresh way of conceiving public art could offer: observations and insights that could make a real difference in city life.” The experiment has proven so successful that the program was expanded in December 2012. Young now leads a team including two more City Artists in Residence: Amanda Lovelee, a visual artist with a proclivity for socially engaged art and photography, whose efforts for the city will include “temporal work and public engagement”; and Sarah West, a multidisciplinary artist whose work tends toward architectural and large-scale public art installations and whose residency will focus on “streets and open spaces.” Young reports that, in spite of any early jitters on the part of his colleagues in public works, the city artists have been well received. “I’ve been welcomed into the conversation from the beginning,” he explains. “We’re guests, and we want to be very up front about that, but there’s genuine interest in the contributions we can make.” Far from fighting for a seat at the table, Young says that civil servants seek out the city artists. “We don’t have enough people yet to meet the demand. The truth is, even if I had a team of 10, we’d still have more than enough projects available to keep ourselves busy.” Young’s most successful initiative as city artist has been Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk. As part of the city’s annual replacement of broken sidewalks, Young developed a program in which the Public Works Department now inscribes new sidewalk panels with poetry. New poems are selected each year from a pool of submissions by St. Paul residents. Several years into the program, hundreds of poems now grace sidewalks in neighborhoods all over the city. The sidewalk project has not only garnered support from residents; it has brought unexpected accolades to the department. In 2012, the city sought accreditation from the American Public Works Association. In order to be accredited, a city is ranked on hundreds

of measures, and high rankings not only recognize a job well done, but can help secure federal funding for infrastructure projects. Accreditation can add up to real money for capital projects. St. Paul got the highest possible rating for curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, according to Podas-Larson. “They’re doing everything well, but it’s the sidewalk poetry project that put the department in the ‘model program’ category,” she says. It’s such a huge feather in Public Works’ cap, in fact, that the City of St. Paul proposed Young as their presenter in the annual American Public Works Association Conference. “This isn’t a conference for public artists,” Podas-Larson emphasizes. “These are engineers and public works people. The competition among cities to be represented by a presenter at the conference is fierce, so it’s a big deal—not just for us, but for the city.” St. Paul’s Public Art “R&D Wing”

Young, along with artist and choreographer Olive Bieringa, is central to another upstream public art initiative, the City Art Collaboratory. This program is concerned with how artists might fit into the ecosystem of the city, and its pilot, which began in September 2012 and will run through June 2013, brings together a cohort of scientists and public artists “to explore the complex systems through which cities are built, experienced, and sustained.” The arts-science partnership is designed to offer opportunities for cross-pollination, conversation, and collaboration between the disciplines. Program Manager Shanai Matteson explains that the Collaboratory’s 14 artists and scientists meet monthly in person and, between times, online, and are focusing their discussions on the Mississippi River. “That seemed to us a good place to start thinking about the ecosystems of the city: St. Paul is a river city, close to the headwaters, and the Mississippi plays such an important role, culturally and naturally, here,” Matteson explains. The artists and scientists go on field trips together each month or so, followed by a shared meal and conversation. They visited Lock and Dam No. 1 to find out about what’s being done to guard against

LEFT: Photo by Jun-Li Wang. RIGHT: Photo by Irrigate.



St. Paul’s Irrigate program, funded through ArtPlace, has approved more than 80 artist projects, including the two above. LEFT: Gita Ghei’s SeedsTREEt includes 13 different native pine trees in pots made by local youth. Hanging cups allow the community to help water them. RIGHT: For Relight the Victoria, Nick Clausen filmed the Iny Asian Dance Theater and projected the video onto the vacant Victoria Theater.



In collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, a major installation of 15 bronze sculptures by the renowned Australian Artist Andrew Rogers opens at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, Second Avenue and East 47th Street

On view May 07 - September 13

In partnership with

“We are all individuals possessing the sanctity of a singular life and the ability to express ourselves.”




invasive species like Asian carp; they toured the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant; and they went on a ride-along with St. Paul’s road maintenance crew as they salted the roads after a big snowfall. “Along the way, we’re always asking, ‘What could an artist do to contribute to these efforts? What would it mean to integrate public art in these city projects in a meaningful way?’” Matteson says. The program will culminate in a series of public events. Five groups of artists and scientists will present “mini engagement workshops” in the city. One of the artists, Molly Balcom Raleigh (a former employee of Forecast Public Art, publisher of Public Art Review), is an avid wild-food forager; she’s enthused about the culinary and symbolic potential of Asian carp. After a recent Collaboratory experience procuring and cooking a silver carp harvested from the Mississippi River, she is mulling over a public project that would host community conversation about invasive species through cooking and eating carp and other native and non-native wild foods. “The mini-projects are kind of a test run for how these artistscientist relationships evolve further,” Matteson says. One option on the table is a grant program to support program alumni in further developing their work in the Collaboratory. Matteson and Young describe the Collaboratory as the city’s “R&D wing” for developing new public art projects, and like any good R&D effort, it involves some fluidity. “We’re creating a kind of prairie ecosystem for the arts in St. Paul and waiting to see what pollinates,” says Matteson. “It’s open-ended and something we’re allowing to evolve and develop organically. This isn’t a top-down program; and we aren’t working to achieve predetermined outcomes.” This open-ended approach involves an element of risk, she adds. Unlike the current drive for creative placemaking, the Collaboratory isn’t focused on economic returns on investments. “What we’re doing is messy and harder to talk about than that,” she says. “But it also means that what we’re doing is responsive, both to the community and the natural environment of the city.” GrASSROOTS ART ON THE CENTRAL CORRIDOR

St. Paul’s University Avenue, the “Central Corridor,” which connects the city with Minneapolis, has been ground zero in recent months for a massive, cities-wide light rail construction project. While the benefits of extensive, convenient mass transit are indisputable, the years-long construction has disrupted neighborhood businesses whose foot traffic and sales are impacted by “the trench.” Artists from those neighborhoods have actively stepped into the breach, with both stand-alone entrepreneurial public art efforts and publicly funded programming. The most visible of these, making national headlines, is Irrigate. In late 2011, St. Paul received a $750,000 creative placemaking grant from the massive public-private partnership ArtPlace; local, independent fundraising efforts raised the total to nearly one million dollars. The resulting program, Irrigate, encourages artists to work with area businesses to ameliorate some of the inconvenience and hardship that accompany the light rail project. Jointly managed by Springboard for the Arts, the City of St. Paul, and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Irrigate trains artists who live and work in the affected neighborhoods with one-day “placemaking

workshops,” then offers micro-grants to fund their public art efforts, connecting them with area businesses that stand to benefit directly from their work. The aim of the program, beyond the immediate concerns of light rail construction, is to encourage long-lived connections among neighborhood artists, residents, and business owners. After a little more than a year, Irrigate has approved 84 projects involving 136 artists and some 70 organizations, most of them based in the affected neighborhoods. Funded projects have run the gamut: Asian dance in abandoned storefronts; family art-making events and community festivals; live dance, music, and theater events in otherwise neglected spaces; and a variety of visual arts, interactive projects, and public art installations designed to engage the community. A like-minded, hyper-local venture, the Creative Enterprise Zone, emerged in the past year in the Central Corridor community of St. Anthony Park. It’s a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals, working under the aegis of the St. Anthony Park Community Council on a mission to cultivate arts and business partnerships that enhance “livability.” With an eye on what light rail will mean for the neighborhood, the Zone is taking steps to facilitate mixeduse growth specifically focused on artists: expanding the number of live-work studios; encouraging partnerships among cultural, commercial, nonprofit, and for-profit partnerships; and investing in infrastructure to encourage creative entrepreneurs to set up shop in the neighborhood. Another start-up, this one with ties to both Irrigate and the St. Anthony Park Community Council, is the Starling Project. It began with University of Minnesota graduate students who, alarmed at the number of vacant storefronts near the campus, worked to make abandoned spaces along the Central Corridor available to artists and small organizations on short-term leases. The leaseholders benefit from affordable rent, and the area from more creative businesses and cultural events. Long plagued by neglected, half-empty storefront strips and derelict industrial buildings, the Midway neighborhood has become home to an assortment of pop-up galleries, ephemeral boutiques filled with local designers’ fashions, and productions by independent theater companies and choreographers. It’s a simple idea, but one with significant value for both artists and the surrounding neighborhoods. These creative responses to the disruption of the light rail construction along the Central Corridor illustrate the contribution public artists can make to shaping the urban landscape, according to Sharon DeMark, program officer at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners and an instrumental funder for public art initiatives in St. Paul. “That rootedness, that sense of tangible contribution and giveand-take between public artists and the communities they serve is valuable all around,” she says. “It’s about the value and relevance of the arts in everyday life. As people have natural interactions with artists, as they would with their grocer or their dentist, then they get the value of art as part of the community, rather than as an add-on.” SUSANNAH SCHOUWEILER is a freelance writer and editor for, a Web-based resource with news and information about Minnesota arts and artists, based at the Walker Art Center.

BOOKS Publications and reviews

The Explosive Career of Cai Guo-Qiang

A five-decade monograph explores the “explosion artist’s” fascination with the natural and supernatural BY Amelia foster



Rebecca Morse and Jeffrey Deitch, eds. New York: Prestel, 2012 192 pages, $60 (hardcover)


Guo-Qiang, in his fifth decade of experiential public art practice, is best known for his explosion events, but the breadth of his work often transcends fire and fuses. If you’re like me, when you hear “explosion event,” you reach for your laptop, not an artist monograph. While a YouTube search is instantly gratifying, Cai Guo-Qiang: Ladder to the Sky gives a generous overview of the artist’s career, moving beyond explosion projects to include equally ephemeral works created in collaboration with Chinese herbalists and qigong masters. What emerges is a holistic portrait of an artist fundamentally informed by Chinese philosophy as he addresses natural and supernatural phenomena through community-engaged practice. I found Sky Ladder read best from back to front. The heart of the publication is in the book’s final section, “Ninety-Nine Tales: Curious Stories from My Journey through the Real and Unseen Worlds,” in which the artist reflects on his experiences in brief, one-page anecdotes paired with archival photos. Loosely organized into two groups, the first section lingers on his upbringing in Quanzhou.

These early memories are so steeped in traditional Chinese myth that many read more like parables than autobiographical stories. Later tales focus on his Project for Extraterrestrials series, which illustrate Guo-Qiang’s steep learning curve as he evolved into a communityoriented artist exploring his core concerns: internal and external universes interpreted through environmentally based artworks. Since the book was published on the occasion of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art’s Sky Ladder—a five-month solo exhibition that included sculptural installations, gunpowder drawings, and an outdoor explosion event—the book includes requisite essays from the curators Jeffrey Deitch and Rebecca Morse as well as academics Lesley Ma and Kuiyi Shen. These texts offer little in comparison to Guo-Qiang’s tales, though they do contextualize him briefly within the canon, Chinese philosophies, and MOCA’s community. Additional photos from the exhibition reveal some of the artist’s process as he worked with volunteers to craft site-specific gallery installations. Embedded within Guo-Qiang’s narratives are many stories of logistical snafus that are sure to ring true with public artists and administrators alike. From fizzling fuses to destructive fires, Guo-Qiang has weathered it all. The layers of engagement present in much of his work—the fire department, the army of volunteer gunpowder painting assistants, the shaman’s blessings—reflect an artist deeply involved in the process of public art. The interdependence and liability risks inherent in Guo-Qiang’s work underscore each narrative included in Ladder to the Sky and render the artist’s continued success as a community-engaged public artist all the more admirable. AMELIA FOSTER

is program and admin. associate at Forecast Public Art.

PROJECTS OPEN FIELD: Conversations on the Commons


Sarah Schultz and Sarah Peters, eds. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 2012 274 pages, $16 (paperback)

Shinji Turner-Yamamoto Bologna: Damiani, 2012 128 pages, $40 (hardcover)

A behind-the-scenes look at Open Field, the Walker Art Center’s three-year green space experiment, which invited countless iterations of public engagement. Open Field: Conversations on the Commons charts the development of the space as it hosted creative exchanges initiated by museum programming, artists in residence, and the community.

Shinji Turner-Yamamoto’s work seeks to connect audiences and the natural world. The site-specific installations in his Global Tree Project include uprooted trees suspended in abandoned churches and minimalist land art in remote desert landscapes. Look to his work to explore your connection with nature and reimagine environmentalism in artistic practice.



THEORY + CRITICISM PILVI TAKALA Silke Opitz, ed. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012 208 pages, $55 (paperback)

AI WEIWEI: According to What? Kerry Brougher, Mami Katoaka, and Charles Merewether New York: Prestel, 2012 176 pages, $39.95 (hardcover)

EL ANATSUI: Art and Life Susan Mullin Vogel New York: Prestel, 2012 176 pages, $60 (hardcover)

The work of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, best known for his large-scale tapestries created from reclaimed bottle tops, is documented here by photos and by author Susan M. Vogel, who came to know the artist well while directing a documentary film about him. Hers is a personal and insightful perspective. A great read on creative reuse of materials and contemporary African art in an international context. THE URBAN THEATER Mark Jenkins Berlin: Gestalten, 2012 160 pages, $55 (hardcover)

Mark Jenkins’ major concern is misunderstanding in relation to his lifelike installations of street art sculpture. The reactions his artwork elicits from passersby—often curiosity and confusion—are well documented in this photo-based monograph. ( M A R K J EN K I NS)


Sensible Politics gathers essays from art historians, anthropologists, political theorists, artists, filmmakers, architects, and more—each addressing activism that crosses disciplinary and visual boundaries. Topics include social suffering in Iran, the “Make Poverty History” campaign, AIDS activism, and more. Dense in pages and content, this work may strike a nerve with the politically engaged public artist. THE FRAGILE MONUMENT: On Conservation and Modernity Thordis Arrhenius London: Black Dog Publishing, 2012 176 pages, $29.95 (paperback)

63 An assortment of historical case studies—from the intentional destruction of the past during the French Revolution to Le Corbusier’s “Plan Voisin”—depict the changing status of monuments in Western society from “permanent” to “fragile.” Arrhenius reexamines issues of architectural conservation, shifting the discourse on preservation and heritage to a more contemporary relevance. BOOKS

Published on the occasion of his first North American survey, this photo-rich monograph celebrates the work of Weiwei as a leading figure in Chinese artwork and includes major works since 2000—the “Bird’s Nest” stadium at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, architectural installations, photography, sculpture, and video.

Meg McLagan and Yates McKee, eds. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 2012 664 pages, $36.95 (hardcover)


Pilvi Takala’s work begins with an intervention in a public space—a shopping mall or Brussels’ European Parliament, for example—that evolves into videos, artist’s books, and installations. The first monograph on this Finnish artist includes photos, essays, and an interview with the artist about her interrogation of the limits of social groups and communities.

SENSIBLE POLITICS: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism

ARTIFICIAL HELLS: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship Claire Bishop New York: Verso, 2012 390 pages, $29.95 (paperback)

Participatory art has grown in popularity, and many celebrate this form of art for transforming the audience’s role from a passive viewer to an active co-creator. Art historian Claire Bishop challenges this simplistic viewpoint, scrutinizes the impact of participatory work on social relations, and offers new criteria by which to judge its success.

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Two Books on Taking Action

Change-focused social practices are changing the way we think about community—and public art



SERVICE MEDIA: Is it “Public Art” or Art in Public Space?

WHAT WE MADE: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation

Stuart Keeler, ed.

Tom Finkelpearl

Chicago: The Green Lantern Press, 2013

Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013

154 pages, $15 (paperback)

416 pages, $26.95 (paperback)

On Service Media

On Social Cooperation

BY Ciara McKeown



If social practice describes artwork (or an artistic approach) that responds to a social or political injustice and explores alternative courses of action, then service media, according to artist and editor Stuart Keeler, is focused on the action. The artwork is not a finite experience or definitive object, but an active process, evolving with the lives and struggles of people, places, and organizations. It is this process that this collection sets out to examine. Service Media: Is It “Public Art” or Art in Public Space presents 16 case studies that together create an accessible and digestible definition of service media. The authors in this volume (many of them artists) offer different perspectives that, taken together, provide insight into the many actions that make up service media. This diversity of approaches provides an entry point into what can be an elusive practice, while the connections among the narratives suggest some agreement on the fundamental principles of public engagement. Like most public art, service media places a high value on “community engagement,” but goes beyond often-ineffective requests for participation. An example is the Opportunity Shop, or Op Shop, described by artist and curator Allison Peters-Quinn. Situated in an abandoned storefront of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, the “store” offers goods, education materials, and knowledge to the community for currency or trade. The connection is the act of trade, a willing exchange in order to optimize results for both parties. Another common thread is the importance of shared streets and activated spaces within a city. A highlight is the chapter by Joyce Fernandes, executive director of the Chicago community/arts organization archi-treasures, which pairs artists with architects and places them in the urban environment to work on real issues in the everyday lives of residents, often for long-term engagements so that their collaborative art forms become tools to effect change with lasting impact. Vivid examples of actions and stories such as these create the true value of Service Media. The book goes beyond a critical examination of theory and emphasizes a service-oriented approach to social practice. In so doing, the authors suggest that new audiences be invited to understand and participate in public art. The essence of social practice, in other words, is focused on everyday life; the framework of artist and art world are set aside in order to clarify the shared experiences and aspirations of everyday people, unified by artistic process. CIARA MCKEOWN is

a public art professional based in Calgary, Alberta.

Social cooperation, according to art historian Claire Bishop, is artwork that is participatory, relational, interactive, collaborative, or socially engaged. In the United States, it’s often referred to as social practice, and when it comes to a shared definition (to say nothing of a name) the waters around this genre of work are muddy at best. Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the Queens Museum of Art, has worked extensively at the intersection of public art and public practice. In What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation, he attempts to bring some definition to the work of social cooperation, or practice. Finkelpearl models the inclusivity and shared voice often present in this type of work by writing about the topic collaboratively. The 15 interviews he conducts with artists and professionals from related fields like architecture, art history, urban studies, design, and political science offer a variety of perspectives and experiences. Together these essays shape a well-rounded investigation of this challenging and nebulous topic. Finkelpearl’s interview with curator Naomi Beckwith is especially enlightening. Beckwith discusses the politics of “sharing voice” by examining the participatory work of Mark Dion. Beckwith participated in Dion’s work in her youth, and later curated his work. This interview opens up a dialogue about the value of processdriven work and how success is determined in works that embody a shared or group voice. The book also provides historical context for contemporary collaborative practice, starting with Vietnam War protests. Finkelpearl juxtaposes historic artistic trends of the latter half of the twentieth century with the concurrent U.S. political climate, allowing the reader to understand the complex history of the artist-and-participant co-authored aesthetic experiences we see today. This book gracefully dives headfirst into a seriously murky topic, using accessible language that, thankfully, doesn’t read like a textbook. The historical context in particular provides a deeper understanding of the roots of participatory public art and reinforces the notion that we, as artists and administrators of public art, can always be asking, “What makes you participate?” as we develop our work. KIRSTIN WIEGMANN is director of education and community engagement at Forecast Public Art.




Nadia Amoroso; Foreword by George Hargreaves New York: Thames & Hudson, 2012 304 pages, $60 (hardcover)

Mika Yoshitake, James Jack, Oshrat Dotan, and Lee Ufan Los Angeles: Blum & Poe, 2012 244 pages, $75 (hardcover)

Amoroso, a professor of landscape architecture, takes an in-depth look at how buildings and public art are being blended into landscapes to create a new definition of what she calls “scaping.”

Mono-ha—translated to “School of Things”—is the name given to a postwar Japanese art movement that included Nobuo Sekine, Lee Ufan, Kishio Suga, and Susumu Koshimizu. This book examines the group’s Tokyo-based practice from 1968 to 1972, a time of unprecedented social and political upheaval. Artworks included reference conceptual art, land art, and Fluxus influences.

WHITE CUBE, GREEN MAZE: New Art Landscapes Raymund Ryan Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012 120 pages, $39.95 (hardcover)

TREE HOUSES: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air Philip Jodidio, ed. Berlin: Taschen, 2013 352 pages, $69.99 (hardcover)

This whimsical coffee-table book chronicles 50 of the world’s best tree houses. Crafted by architects or unknown craftsmen, each tree house is photographed and playfully illustrated. Short blurbs touch briefly on ecological responsibility and sustainability, but the editor’s main concern is to pique your imagination with this unconventional treatment of tiny structures.


PUBLIC ArChIteCtUre, UrBANIsm ANd INterveNtIoNs

GOING PUBLIC: Public Architecture, Urbanism, and Interventions Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann, Sofia Borges, Lukas Feireiss, eds. Berlin: Gestalten, 2012 272 pages, $69.95 (hardcover)

An international cross-section of architectural projects focused on developing public space to encourage shared experiences. Different community and social centers are posed as high-potential sites ripe for innovation: community gardens, public parks, bus stops, and more.

Linda Weintraub Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2012 384 pages, $34.95 (paperback)

This book includes works by public artists active in the eco arts movement like Andy Goldsworthy, Lily Yeh, Tomás Saraceno, and more. Turn to each artist’s case study for a fresh perspective on addressing global challenges at cultural, scientific, economic, spiritual, and ethical frontiers. THE ART OF WALKING: A Field Guide David Evans London: Black Dog Publishing, 2013 192 pages, $24.95 (paperback)

Seven overlapping themes organize a wide range of artworks loosely unified as “walks.” Public artists Richard Long, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and others are profiled alongside numerous performance artists. Several artists were active collaborators in the creation of their respective sections. ALTERNATIVE HISTORIES: New York Art Spaces, 1960–2010 Lauren Rosati and Mary Anne Staniszewski, eds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012 408 pages, $40.00 (hardcover)

Published alongside an exhibition at Exit Art, Alternate Histories depicts the New York art scene’s use of unusual spaces from the 1960s to the present. From PS1 to Franklin Furnace, these alternative sites often fueled experimentation. More than 130 spaces are profiled via photos, essays, and interviews.


Learn about architectural masters and emerging architects in the United States, Germany, Japan, and Brazil through the eyes of architectural photographer Iwan Baan. This book introduces new art landscapes that blur boundaries between architecture, environmentalism, and artistic experimentation.

TO LIFE!: Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet



U.S. PROJECTS Selected recent works


A “garden” made of concrete, steel, and light has sprouted at the Scott Avenue Transit Plaza in St. Louis, Missouri. Garden Under the Bridge by artist Barbara Grygutis is a largescale work composed of a sculptural gateway inspired by seed pods and a hardscape area with a vine motif, surrounded by curvilinear perimeter fencing. Commissioned by the St. Louis Metro Transit, the piece is intended to

were built around him, so visitors had to climb six flights of stairs to enter the space—a fully furnished, functional living room, replete with chairs, couch, flat-screen TV, and pop culture– inspired wallpaper. Windows on the apartment walls allowed visitors to take in the city below, but the artist hoped that the best view would be that of the sculpture up close and in a new and unusually intimate context—one that, Nishi hoped, would spark the viewers’ imaginations about history, public figures, and public art in fun, new ways. Left photo by GO Sugimoto. Right photo by Tatzu Nishi.

bring beauty, brightness, and a sense of safety to the new rail station located underneath the Grand Avenue Bridge. The large seed-pod sculptures are transparent, allowing sunlight to flow through them during the day. At night they are illuminated from within. Lights embedded in the pavement—“night blooming flowers,” as Grygutis has dubbed them—also come to life when night falls, work-

ing together with the sculpture to bring a glowing warmth to the plaza. The new transit station, which opened in August 2012, also features additional seating options and a 58-space parkand-ride lot. A resident of Tucson, Arizona, Grygutis is a prolific public artist with more than 75 sitespecific installations across the nation. Photo by Dan Donovan.


To celebrate its new library, Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, welcomed Christian Moeller’s Cloud this past fall. Moeller’s installation consists of a 22 by 28 feet wide aluminum bookcase that holds 11,840 blank books in 12 different colors. All together, the varioushued book covers create the visual illusion of a desert cloud. “Students and faculty can borrow books of Cloud to use them as personal note or scrapbooks,” explains Moeller. “This way generations of students can actively engage with this artwork; it will stay alive and increase its intrinsic value over time.” A professor at UCLA, Moeller chose the image of a cloud as a comment on the way individuals receive information today. The Utah Public Art Program explained Moeller’s work as “the movement of analog to digital to the cloud.” While students and professors are surrounded by ever more technology, Moeller’s installation invites them to participate in an ongoing paperbased project that connects them to the history— and future—of reading, writing, and learning. Photo by Paul Richer.

The marble statue of Christopher Columbus in midtown Manhattan got a fancy new apartment last fall, thanks to Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi. While Nishi is well-known internationally for retrofitting public sculptures with their own specially designed domestic interiors, Discovering Columbus, a Public Art Fund Project, is his first installation in the United States. The 13-foot statue, originally built in 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, sits atop a 75-foot column in the center of Columbus Circle near Central Park. The vaunted explorer’s new digs



Artist Janet Zweig recently transformed the roof of a six-floor Kansas City parking garage into a sound stage in a unique public art installation. In collaboration with el dorado inc architects, Zweig completed installation of Prairie Logic in October 2012. The piece consists of a fabricated boxcar set on top of a circular railroad track and surrounded by a half-acre “prairie” on the roof of the downtown parking garage. When the boxcar is open, it becomes a proscenium stage for locally curated events including music, theater, readings, and educational programs. When closed, it still demands attention: built out of perforated aluminum, it can be illuminated from the inside at night, creating the illusion of a glowing lantern hovering among the tall buildings. Zweig, whose main focus is creating art in the public realm, lives in Brooklyn. Left photo by Mike Sinclair. Right photo by Dan Videtich.


Employees of a downtown Houston office complex are crawling all over the building’s atrium in a new public art project by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar. The Madrid-based artist created Waves, a sculpted LED video installation suspended from the ceiling of 2 Houston Center, by filming employees and passersby as they performed in front of a green screen. Canogar first asked the participants to crawl and then encouraged them to be creative in their movements; many danced, ran, and cartwheeled while the artist captured the movements with an overhead camera. The resulting video shows the “actors” in both realistic and abstract forms. While “public-participation performance” is a signature method for Canogar, Waves is a technological first, incorporating flexible LED tiles that bend and twist (a very recent innovation). Photo by Jerry Manning, © 2012.

Fraley’s Robot Repair in downtown Pittsburgh was a one-stop shop for robot repairs and tune-ups. Actually, the shop was a public art installation—no real robot repairs took place (the word on the street is that the human owners of the shop were on vacation). Designed by artist Toby Fraley for Pittsburgh’s 2012 “Project Pop Up: Downtown” program, the storefront featured a robot in the shop window gazing out at the world in wonder. Viewers with smartphones interacted with the robot via QR codes embedded in the display. Every 9 to 12 days, Fraley snuck into the storefront window and rearranged the lonely robot trapped inside into a new little scenario. At press time, the store’s planned closing was no different: Fraley intended to show the robot planning a trip and then digging a hole to escape from the shop. The project came down in May after 16 months on display. Photo by Toby Fraley.


ARTLANTIC: wonder is the first of five installations that will make up the Artlantic project (2012–2016), a series of temporary, interactive art installations in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Curated by Lance Fung of Fung Collaboratives, the project aims to provide new creative spaces that function as public meeting places, fostering social interaction and reinvigorating the community. Installed this past November and situated on two separate sites across the city, Artlantic: Wonder includes illuminated text pieces by Robert Barry; an interactive pirate ship by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov; a garden and sculpture by Kiki Smith; and John Roloff’s Étude Atlantis, an illusionistic performance space. The works are situated among earth sculptures, designed by Balmori Associates Inc., and Cairone & Kaupp, Inc., that evoke both an infinity sign and the iconic roller coasters of Steel Pier, a local amusement park. Referencing the city’s past and present, Artlantic: Wonder is a beautiful and welcome addition to a city still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Layman Lee.


Washington, D.C., is home to a new monument that honors the health-care professionals who worked on the frontlines during the early days of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. A creation of artist William Cochran, Pillar of fire is a looming tower of solid glass that seems to twist around as it soars into the sky; it is illuminated from both inside and out, adding beauty and drama to D.C.’s nighttime skyline. Cochran was inspired by a fabled pillar of ancient times that was said to have been engulfed by fire at night and consumed by clouds during the day so that it served as a constant beacon for the lost. Health-care providers for HIV/AIDS patients in the 1980s labored in the face of official silence, lack of funding, and broad social and institutional discrimination. This new sculpture serves as their beacon, offering recognition and gratitude for the jobs they undertook with little guidance and less support. Photo courtesy William Cochran, Cochran Studio.


Established in 2010 as a forum for exploring problems facing the city of Atlanta, Living Walls, The City Speaks has become an annual conference on street art and urbanism. The 2012 conference was held in August and featured 26 female artists from across the globe (from corners as distinct as São Paolo, Berlin, and Brooklyn); it was the world’s first all-female street art conference. The weeklong event, which was free and open to the public, featured film screenings, lectures, block parties, gallery exhibits, and bike tours. The murals created during the conference (like Hyuro’s work above) still dot the city, and a map to all the painted walls is available through the Living Walls website ( This year’s conference spawned a secondary “expansion organization”—Living Walls Concepts, which aims to provide more public art programming year-round. Its stated goal is “to create a more intimate relationship between the invited artist and the community receiving his or her art.” Photo courtesy Hyuro.




Over the past year, art-infused bridges have been cropping up across California. Among them is the Gold Line Bridge in Arcadia, the first completed element of the new 11.5-mile light rail project that will connect Pasadena and Azusa. Artist Andrew Leicester’s design for the bridge, which spans 584 feet across the I-210 freeway, was inspired by local indigenous traditions and native plant life. A new bridge by artist Vicki Scuri is providing safe passage for pedestrians over Endicott Boulevard in San Jose. Lined with cherry-colored mandalas that cast intricate shadows on the pavement below, the bridge was dedicated to the memory of a young boy who died on nearby railroad tracks

Every 20 minutes, a plant or animal species disappears from the earth—all as a result of the actions of humankind. Artist Maya Lin’s What is Missing? project aims to raise awareness about this crisis with science-based artworks that show the connections and causes of these extinctions. While more aspects of the project will be launched over the next two years, the work currently consists of three Webbased maps that tell stories of the natural world from the past, present, and future. The future-focused map, entitled “Greenprint for the Future,” launched on Earth Day 2013, imagines plausible future scenarios that balance human needs with the needs of the natural world. “Greenprint” will also have a community aspect, engaging economists, scholars, and environmental experts to partake in online, round-table discussions. Lin hopes to keep the project as virtual as possible “because the less money we spend, the fewer resources we use, and the smaller and humbler I can keep this project,” she told Dwell magazine in April 2013. “In a way, that’s part of the underlying principle of it.” Photo courtesy

several years ago. Named Xander’s Crossing in honor of the child, the bridge will help keep other children and adults safe in the years to come. The Bay Bridge in San Francisco is now home to the largest LED light sculpture in the world. The creation of artist Leo Villareal, The Bay Lights is a series of 25,000 LED lights that span 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high—eight times the scale of the Eiffel Tower. The lights will shine every night from dusk until 2:00 a.m. through spring 2015. Left photo by Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Right photo by Vicki Scuri SiteWorks. Bottom photo by Lucas Saugen, courtesy The Bay Lights.

The newly completed San Diego County Operations Center has commissioned and purchased 22 new artworks, including a sculpture by artist Anne Mudge. Littoral Drift is a seven-piece set of steel biomorphic chandeliers. Installed in one of the building’s main lobbies, these delicate, dangling sculptures illuminate the space with their highly reflective surface. The seven sculptures feature similar design qualities, yet each is unique. Together, they are meant to evoke contradictory qualities—light and dark, earth and air, contraction and release. The elaborate woven pattern that threads through the seven pieces was drawn from Mudge’s childhood. “I remember being fascinated as a child at a news story about the world’s largest ball of string,” says Mudge of the pattern. “I was awed by the extravagance of time spent in what seemed a pointless act, except that its outcome, the ball of string itself, filled my imagination.” Photo © Jerry Manning, 2012.


Last fall, artist Krzysztof Wodiczko breathed new life into the historic Lincoln statue in New York City’s Union Square Park with his installation project Abraham Lincoln: Veteran War Projection. Known for his large-scale light projections that give a public voice to marginalized communities, Wodiczko filmed veterans of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars, as well as their family members, discussing their experiences. The video clips were enlarged and cast against the figure of Lincoln so that the speakers’ faces and motioning arms inhabited the silent, still figure of one of America’s greatest heroes. For 32 days, these colored projections transformed Lincoln into an active, vocal member of the community. The projected voices called out to passersby, beckoning them to slow down and pay attention to their deeply personal stories and often overlooked points of view. Photo by Carlos Léria. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York & More Art. © Krzysztof Wodiczko.


If you’ve ever walked passed a bronze sculpture without registering the historical face looking down at you, you’re probably not alone. Bronze memorials have (happily) become a regular feature in parks and city centers across the country—so much so that they sometimes seem to blend into the whole urban tableau. We see them, but we don’t. Now a new sculpture by Thomas Schütte, on display in New York’s Central Park from March 5 to August 25, 2013, is making people take notice. United Enemies comprises two human figures bound together by rope and struggling to break free. Each bronze figure balances precariously on a tripod base while their faces ripple with agony. As anonymous figures, the sculpted people stand apart from historic bronzes that memorialize specific individuals and their achievements. These figures represent more universal human issues of struggle and freedom, disconnection and emotional pain. A native of Germany, Schütte began the United Enemies sculpture series in the early 1990s. This piece was installed in London’s Kensington Gardens before arriving in Central Park. Photo by Carlos Léria.

Mecklenburg, NC





Ed Carpenter, Ascendus / Cliff Garten, Levine Lanterns Living Lenses, Sight Unseen / Erwin Redl, Passing Through Light

CALLS TO ARTISTS: 704.333.2272

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS Selected recent works



An abandoned oil silo in Helsinki, Finland, has been converted into a piece of public art and a unique civic space thanks to the Madrid-based art team Lighting Design Collective (LCD). This once gigantic eyesore, which stands 16 meters high and runs 35 meters in diameter, has been transformed into a beautiful landmark in a city currently undergoing considerable urban redevelopment. Silo 468 sits along the sea and faces central Helsinki. Elements of the natural environment, including the sea, air, and wildlife, inspired LCD’s vision for the project. In daylight, the outside surface of the silo shimmers under the sun much like the surface of the nearby water. Dappled light

and shadows sweep across its deep red interior, following the movement of the sun through the holes derived from existing rust stains. At night the silo is lit by 1280 LED domes, a vision which can be enjoyed from a distance of several kilometers. These lights are controlled by custom software built to monitor the environment. They sweep across the silo’s surface in rushed, random patterns that mimic the strong winds and swarms of birds well known to this area. This past November, in Arhus, Denmark, Silo 468 was awarded the Media Architecture Biennale 2012 Award for Best Spatial Media Art. Photos by Tapio Rosenius.

Nathan Coley’s found-text sculpture A Place Beyond Belief takes on multiple layers of meaning when placed outside of the gallery (where it has also been shown) and into the heart of Kosovo’s capital city of Pristina. Situated between a deserted, unfinished Serbian Orthodox cathedral (a symbol of oppression to the majority Muslim and ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo) and the university library (a symbol of advancement), A Place Beyond Belief challenges the citizens of Pristina to look past religious and social prejudice toward an enlightened future. The work was installed on September 11, 2012, in celebration of the cessation of Kosovo’s supervised independence. The correlation with the anniversary of 9/11 cannot be ignored, as the work’s text was taken from a post–9/11 interview

in which a woman recounts witnessing the hatred pointed at a Sikh man on a New York subway train— and the moment she realized that for New York to ever heal it had to become “a place beyond belief.” While under the Serbian regime, Kosovo’s Muslim and ethnic Albanian population faced intense discrimination. Today, while still retaining an air of ambiguity, Coley’s work serves to remind the politicians of Kosovo, who work in an office nearby, to avoid repeating past mistakes. Photo by Atdhe Mulla, courtesy the artist, Haunch of Venison Gallery, London.



dimensional model of the post-quake tsunami that underscores the interdependence of earth systems and the global community as revealed by natural disasters. Installed in a bustling area of Amsterdam, where busy road, water, and foot traffic buzzed below, the piece served as an ethereal reminder that distance is an illusionary boundary. The world is connected not only online but physically as well. Through her art, Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, state-of-the-art public sculptures that respond to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight. These fluid, ephemeral works crafted from soft netting offer a dynamic contrast to the rigid, heavy architecture of their urban surroundings. Photo by Janus Van den Eijnden.

At the invitation of the city of Munich, the Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset are curating a wide-ranging temporary art project in the center of the city between January and September 2013. The project, entitled A Space Called Public / Hoffentlich Öffentlich, takes as its starting point the social and technological impact of the Internet on public space, and includes a series of diverse works, from installa-

tions to music performances to happenings, by artists from different countries, all with the aim of generating conversation about the concept of public space today. The series launched on January 29 with 4th Plinth Munich by Stephen Hall and Li Li Ren. This installation inclues a full-scale replica of the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth in the historic square of Wittelsbacherplatz, adjacent to an existing bronze

In the 1840s, Queensland was a major destination for European immigrants seeking a better life in Australia. The vast majority of these hopeful travelers entered the country through Kangaroo Point along the banks of the Brisbane River. So in 1885, the Queensland government solicited proposals for a building on the site that would evoke the optimism of this heady time. The result was Yungaba House, a stately immigration depot that still stands along the banks of the Brisbane. Today, Yungaba House is the inspiration (and filming location) for a new journey-themed installation project, Moving Over the Shoreline, by artist Sarah-Mace Dennis, for the new Queensland Multicultural Centre. This permanent projection piece, which is a four-channel video installation that explores movement, journey, and change, and includes dance work by the Aboriginal dance group Nunukul Yuggera, is shown on two exterior and two interior walls of the Queensland Multicultural Centre building. The videos follow the movements of two ghostlike figures, played by actors Allison Manson and Joseph Taylor, who wander through Yungaba House, evoking internal states of consciousness associated with long journeys and relocation. Photo by Gerwyn Davies. © Queensland Government.

statue of Maximilian I on a horse. Like its famous original in England, 4th Plinth Munich included an invitation to eight international artists to submit works for display. Schöner Wohnen (Better Living) by the Munich artist Alexander Laner was selected and run from June through September. Surrounded by a picket fence, the plinth will be transformed into a micro-apartment with a rooftop terrace and will be available for rent.


Massachusetts-based artist Janet Echelman’s monumental work 1.26 made its third appearance on the globe this winter at the Amsterdam Light Festival. Displayed in the Netherlands through January 20, 2013, the piece was originally commissioned by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) Public Art Program in 2010 in commemoration of the first Biennial of the Americas. DOCA gave Echelman the challenge of representing the interconnectedness of the Americas in sculptural form. She found inspiration for the work in the February 2010 Chilean earthquake, which resulted in a redistribution of the earth’s mass so great that the day was shortened by 1.26 microseconds. The resulting sculpture is a suspended three-

space in the EU. The bright panoply of colored wood on the structure is meant to represent the diversity of the EU countries and the harmony of their coexistence. It is also meant to give the work a bold, vibrant quality that reflects the energy and enthusiasm of young Kosovans. Photo by Senat Haliti.


Architect Senat Haliti has captured the aspirations of Kosovans to join the European Union with his new public art project in the southern Kosovo city of Prizren, EU Pavilion. Designed for the Culture for All competition, an EU-funded project, and implemented by ARS Progetti S.P.A., the pavilion is a large tent-shaped structure made of brightly painted recycled wood. Haliti’s idea was to create a structure that would represent the Kosovan desire to join the European Union and would give people who enter the structure a quiet place to contemplate and to feel a sense of home

Public Art Thrives in Kansas City!

Harries + Heder Terpsichore for Kansas City

Gordon Huether Red Eye

Michael Davis Salute

Chris Doyle The Moons

Egawa + Zbryk Barnacles

Kansas City, MO Municipal Art Commission





APRIL 13—AUGUST 25, 2013

THOMAS EASTERLY . COURTNEY EGAN . MATTS LEIDERSTAM . DONALD LIPSKI . KEN LUM . ALLAN MCCOLLUM JENNY PRICE . ALEC SOTH . ROBERT STACKHOUSE . MEL WATKIN . BERNARD WILLIAMS . KEITH WILLIAMS The River Between Us also features Loans That Don’t Move, an innovative model of collaboration whereby objects on loan remain in place, between Laumeier and the Campbell House Museum, The Missouri History Museum, The Museum of Transportation, The Saint Louis Art Museum and The St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.




Vito Acconci Mac Adams Michael Arad Alice Aycock Laura Baring-Gould Ann Beha Adrian Benepe Elizabeth H. Berger Andrew Berman BK Boley Sandra Bloodworth Fred Brink Janet Braun-Reinitz Gary Brewer Michele Brody Lance Jay Brown Eric Bunge Santiago Calatrava Sara Caples Robert Campbell Stephen Cassell Pieranna Cavalchini Larry Chan Eran Chen David Childs Andrew Cohen Rick Cook Joseph Coppola Randy Correll Eric Corriel Fern Cunningham Emily Curran Roberta Darby Curtis Susan Danilow Richard Dattner Robert Davidson Steven Davis Eric Dever Robert Dermody Ray Dovell Jamie Drake Jon Dreyfous Jeffrey Dugan Janet Echelman Karen Fairbanks Ming Fay Jackie Ferrara Bill Fitzgibbons David Fixler Robert Fleming Bruce Fowle Donald Fram Beth Galston Robert Garneau Franco Gaskin Shauna Gilles-Smith Berlo Gizzi Mark Ginsberg Andrew Ginzel Raul Gonzalez Peter Gluck Jane Goldman Stephanie Greenfield Richard Haas David Hacin Peter Han Hugh Hardy Mags Harries Guido Hartray Ellen Harvey Christine Haughney Brandon Haw Lauren Hlavenka Lajos Heder Ralph Helmick Eric Howeler Steven Imrich Zevilla Jackson-Preston Gary Johnson Kristin Jones Charlie Kaplan Andre Kikoski Yugon Kim Douglas Kornfeld Joyce Kozloff Alex Krieger Michael Kubo Jonathan Kuhn Peter Kuttner Phyllis Lambert Alexander Lamis Christina Lanzl Nick Leahy David Lee Vince Lee Andrea Leers Gregg Lefevre Ross Lewis Vivien Li Daniel Libeskind Astrid Lipka Donald Lipski Daniel Lobitz Tim Love Sharon Louden David Lowrey Farnaz Mansuri Scott Marble Edwin Marshall Ann Benson McGlone Michael McGough Garrison McNeil Bill Menking Ross Miller Mary Miss Keith Morgan Barry Moreno Kate Orff Susan Park Mark Pasnik Sherida Paulsen Rafael Pelli Jean Parker Phifer David Piscuskas Charles Platt Gina Pollara John Powell Warrie Price Charles Redmon Lyn Rice Brian Ricklin Duke Riley Voza Rivers Charles Rose Tony Rosenthal Tamara Roy Jennifer Sage Heath Satow Todd Schliemann Frederic Schwartz Nancy Schon Leni Schwendinger Nancy Seasholes Madeleine Segall-Marx Anne Katrine Senstad Douglas Shand-Tucci Tom Shea Jorge Silvetti William Singer Lynn Smiledge Sylvia Smith Ken Smith Richard Sothwick Jane Stageberg William Stein Josiah Stevenson Scott Stringer Susan Rodriguez Tod Williams Billie Tsien Ada Tolla Brian Tolle Brian Tomman Anna Torriani Calvin Tsao Corinne Ulmann M a t t h e w Urbanski Peter Vanderwarker Clara Wainwright Jane Weinzapfel Claire Weisz Joseph Wheelwright Samuel White Thomas White Heidi W h i t m a n Barbara Wilks Peter Williams Carol Willis John Woefling Judge Douglas Woodlock Steven Yablon This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Dept of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council





4:20 PM


NATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION Location: Ottawa Opens: May 16, 2013 Deadline: September 4, 2013


Public ART

Arlington, Virginia congratulates Richard Deutsch on the completion of Echo, an interactive sculpture he created as part of the design team led by Oculus for Penrose Square. Inspired by the former radio towers that broadcast the first transatlantic radio signal in 1915, Echo reflects and projects sound, providing a modern interpretation of Arlington’s contribution to the history of communication. For more about Arlington Public Art: For more about the artist:

FORECAST NEWS What we’re up to


Healing, Home and Energy

Announcing Award Winners

Forecast’s consulting team is very busy this summer. Among the many activities under way are an exhibition surveying the many art and healing programs in the Twin Cities, scheduled to open in November at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis; a second round of global research in partnership with the publishers of Public Art magazine (China) and Shanghai University; co-presenting and managing artist Nancy Ann Coyne’s monumental Speaking of Home skyway installation in downtown St. Paul, scheduled to open in September; and developing Art as Energy, a public art program for the Center for Energy and Environment, commissioning new works by Minnesota artists focusing on energy consumption, attitudes, and behaviors.

With support from the Jerome Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, and the East Central Regional Arts Council, Forecast Public Art offers grants to emerging and mid-career public artists living in the state of Minnesota. It engages an independent selection panel of diverse public art professionals to select grantees in six categories. Forecast is pleased to announce Melisande Charles as the recipient of the McKnight Project Grant, a $50,000 award for the production of an artist-generated public art project. Forecast also congratulates the following artists, who received grants ranging from $2,000 to $8,000: East Central Regional Arts Council Planning Grants were awarded to Jason Bord and Dane R. Winkler; East Central Regional Arts Council Project Grants went to Alison Holland and Terri Huro; Jerome Planning Grants were given to Tim Donahue, Soozin Hirschmugl, Mara V. Pelecis, and to Eben Kowler and Eli Edleson-Stein; Jerome Project Grants went to Sara Hanson and Cecilia Schiller; and McKnight Professional Development Grants were awarded to Todd Boss and Liz Miller. Please visit to learn more about these innovative artists and their projects.




Forecast’s consulting team is pleased to see sculptor Randy Walker’s Dream Elevator, recently completed for the city of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.


TOP LEFT: Photo courtesy the artist (Randy Walker). RIGHT MIDDLE and BOTTOM: Photo courtesy Sara Hanson.

New Tools and Events Forecast Public Art is developing How We Work, an online companion to our work in K–12 schools. The site will model our experiences working in classrooms and with students with case studies designed to exhibit tools, resources, and best practices for bringing public art concepts into educational settings. The studies will be available for free at in summer 2013. Forecast has also been involved in the following events: In January, 50 people came to Forecast’s office for Open Space/Open Bar to dig into placemaking topics related to the fall/winter 2012 issue of Public Art Review. Facilitation techniques like Open Space Technology and World Café are used at Open Space/Open Bar to help participants shape conversations that they care about—and, as the title implies, there’s a happy hour to follow. In February, more than 60 people gathered at The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis for the Twin Cities Public Art Coordinators Breakfast. Public art coordinators and administrators from around the Twin Cities metro area explored policy, trends, challenges, and opportunities. In May, Forecast Public Art—in partnership with St. Paul–based ArtStart— selected two projects for the EcoArts Fest at St. Paul’s Harriet Island: Grace Minnesota’s Wishes for the Sky and Daniel Dean and Laura Bigger’s Topographical Mural Project. During the spring, Forecast collaborated with Minneapolis’s Roosevelt High School and artist Randy Walker to design a student-inspired permanent public art piece for the school grounds. The piece will be installed in fall 2013 and is designed for students and teachers to reimagine and change its adorning elements for years to come.

Sara Hanson was a 2012 recipient of a research and development grant to explore the idea of public sculpture acting as a life-form, traveling to various communities and engaging audiences. Her 2012 prototype, above, will evolve in 2013 as a touring sculptural installation with a time capsule component.

ABOUT FORECAST Forecast Public Art, the publisher of Public Art Review, is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. A nonprofit arts organization, Forecast strengthens and advances the field of public art locally, nationally, and internationally by assisting communities, supporting artists, and providing resources that inform audiences and expand participation. Learn more at


A lone survivor is being transformed into a memorial—and a symbol of hope


Forest bathing—a preventive medicine practice that involves hanging out in the woods—is wildly popular in Japan, where 67 percent of the country’s landmass is covered in trees. Nearly a quarter of the population partakes, visiting Japan’s 48 official Forest Therapy trails. So it struck a particularly deep chord when a forest of 70,000 trees along Takata-Matsubara, a two-kilometer stretch of shoreline in the city of Rikuzentakata in the Iwate prefecture, formerly a designated “Place of Scenic Beauty,” was decimated in the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. Only one tree survived. People called it the “Miracle Pine.” The tree became a symbol of hope not only for the people of Rikuzentakata—where more than 1,500 people perished and hundreds remain missing—but for all of Japan. It lived for 18 months before succumbing to salt-laden soil. To honor it, the city of Rikuzentakata cut down the 88-foot-tall tree in September 2013 and began the process of preserving it with carbon fiber and resin. At an expense of about $1.5 million, the tree is being rebuilt as a monument which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2013. — Karen Olson

Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images.




On September 28, 2012, Blossom Hill Pedestrian Bridge was dedicated as “Xander’s Crossing”, opening to the public with a community gathering to honor Alexander Arriga, a toddler who was struck by a train near the site in 2005. The long awaited safe crossing fulfills the dream of a community to heal and connect. Historic cherry orchards, once famous at the site, inform the artwork. The cycle of life is symbolized by the cherry motif. A progression of colorful cherry mandalas creates a dynamic pattern and a shadow garden marking the passage of time.

healing a community through connectivity Our projects, while functional, invite public imagination and engagement. The communities become active participants by strolling, recreating and connecting. Many of our projects are bridges that create neighborhood identity and gateways. Their connectivity goes beyond functionality. They provide beautiful promenades for their communities, while marking life’s passage.

Blossom Hill Pedestrian Bridge “Xander’s Crossing” San Jose, CA 2012 Sponsor: VTA


Š Photo : Enrique Diaz

She Changes in Porto Portugal by Janet Echelman. Completed 2005, Photographed 2012.

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