Public art projects honored by Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review

Americans for the Arts honored 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2017 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects include three from Seattle’s Public Art Program.

The three projects that were recognized are:

Vessels by Nicole Kistler: Vessels are a series of cast iron sculptures that dot the community garden on Seattle Public Utilities property at Beacon Reservoir. Building on the inspiration of the reservoir as a container, they evoke puffball mushrooms holding spores, berries holding seeds, seed pods, and ceramic water jugs. The sculptures also hold stories from the community. Kistler interviewed Beacon Food Forest volunteers and neighbors over several summer months capturing food stories and traditions on audio and imbedded phrases into the permanent works. Commissioned with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds.

BorderLands: The first exhibition ARTS organized at King Street Station, BorderLands featured 2D- and 3D works from the City’s collection as well as site-specific installations. The exhibition, focusing on themes of belonging and resistance, was on view on the third floor of King Street Station.

Poetry on Buses, a collaboration with 4Culture and funded through Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds: Poetry on Buses invited King County residents to create, share, and experience poetry on public transit, online, and in community on the theme “Your Body of Water.”

Dating back to 1992, Poetry on Buses was reimagined in 2014 to foster relationships with immigrant and undeserved communities, featured multiple languages, and transformed the commute for culture—on bus and on smartphone. The 2017-18 program was multi-modal and featured poetry in nine languages.

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. 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.”

The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed on this page and were on display throughout the Annual Convention. Three independent public art experts—Bryan Lee, Jr., director of design at Colloqate Design in New Orleans; Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons in Los Angeles; and Denver artist Patrick Marold—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017. This is the 17th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 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.

 

Artwork dedication at Beacon Hill Food Forest

Saturday, September 16, 2017, 2 p.m.
15th Ave S & S Dakota St, Seattle, WA 98108

On September 16th, during the Beacon Food Forest’s monthly work party, we will dedicate Nicole Kistler’s artwork Vessels. The artworks are a series of cast iron sculptures that dot the community garden on Seattle Public Utilities property at Beacon Reservoir. Building on the inspiration of the reservoir as a container, they evoke puffball mushrooms holding spores, berries holding seeds, seed pods, and ceramic water jugs. Likewise, the sculptures hold stories from the community. Kistler interviewed Food Forest volunteers and neighbors over several summer months capturing food stories and traditions on audio, and imbedding them into the permanent works. The artist also held a series of seed ball workshops bringing attention to fruit and vegetable production in an urban settings. Kistler worked closely with the Food Forest’s Steering Committee, Co-founders Jacqueline Cramer and Glenn Herlihy, and Arts and Culture Chair Julia Haack, all artists in their own right, to integrate the organically shaped sculptures throughout this urban permaculture garden.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) encourages urban farming through its solid waste program; Kistler wrote an Urban Agriculture art plan following a residency investigating opportunities for artist engagement in urban settings, such as P-Patches run by the Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Parks and Recreation ‘s food production facilities and SPU’s Beacon Reservoir. Kistler identified Beacon Food Forest as a potential site for a community-engaged process to develop and locate a permanent art project.

SPU entered into an agreement with the P-Patch program to develop and expand the Food Forest. This artwork, on SPU property, highlights the opportunities to raise food in city as a community-centered activity, and the need to encourage sustainable practices in urban food production.