Two public art projects of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) received national recognition from Americans for the Arts Public Art Network’s 2016 Year in Review. Year in Review highlights the most successful, innovative, and exciting public art projects and programs in the United States. The two award-winning projects are Public Art Boot Camp, a training program for emerging public artists; and ALL RISE, an 18 month-long temporary art program.
“Being recognized nationally for our innovative programming and temporary art is exciting and it expands the boundaries of what we think of as public art,” says Ruri Yampolsky, Public Art Program Director. “Among our other work, we create programs that nurture emerging artists and address the barriers to entry in our field.”
This year the Public Art Network received 260 applications from public art programs and artists. A total of 38 projects were selected for recognition. ARTS has received recognition for previous projects in past years.
“These Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate that public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. Whether subtly beautiful or vibrantly jolting, a public art work has the singular ability to make citizens going about everyday business stop, think, and through the power of art appreciate a moment, no matter how brief,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”
Public Art Boot Camp is a hands-on training program intended to expand the next generation of public artists, including emerging artists and artists from historically under-represented communities such as communities of color. In the inaugural year of Public Art Boot Camp, participants engaged in a free two-day intensive basic training, learning to translate their studio or gallery experience into the public realm. Through a competitive process, 30 artists were selected to participate. They attended workshops that provided an overview of the field with topics such as finding opportunities, selection processes, contracts, working with design professionals, approvals, fabrication, installation and more. Participants were included in an invitational opportunity to create temporary artworks for “Art Interruptions: Central Area Neighborhood Greenway” and “Seattle Center Sculpture Walk.” Following the Boot Camp, 14 of the 30 participating artists received their first public project commissions through ARTS or other organizations.
ALL RISE, a collaborative art series curated by Meagan Atiyeh and Elizabeth Spavento, featured a year and a half of performances, events and temporary art installations organized for and presented at an entire vacant city block at the location of Seattle City Light’s future Denny Substation in the Cascade neighborhood. The curators were commissioned to engage and transform the entire 90,000 sq. Ft. empty lot into a dynamic and evolving art exhibition space from May 2014 through September 2015. ALL RISE encompassed more than 50 artists who engaged with the residents and workers of the Cascade neighborhood, exploring the transient potentials of land as residential, agricultural, urban, and political. Artists from Seattle to London, ranging in disciplines from sculptors, photographers, choreographers, dancers, composers, musicians, poets and community activists, created work for and around the site. Full documentation can be found at www.allriseseattle.org.
The Public Art Network (PAN), a program of Americans for the Arts, is designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. The network’s constituents are public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals, and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs.
The Year in Review selections were presented at the national conference “The Present & Presence of Public Art” in Boston, MA in June. The 38 public art works selected for the PAN Year in Review can be seen on this page. The presentation, which includes photos and descriptions of these works, are available for purchase through Americans for the Arts’ store.
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, it has a record of more than 40 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in, and appreciate all forms of the Arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.
Images: Public art boot camp and Robert Montgomery.