Public Art Review

January 20, 2017

The Art Department

The grassroots “agency” dubbed the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is set to come of age with a convening and a policy paper

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) could be a cabinet-level agency of the federal government—in your dreams, and in the dreams of its founders, a young artist-activist-instigator named Adam Horowitz and Arlene Goldbard, a veteran consultant, activist, and writer on cultural policy. What the USDAC actually is, is a three-year-old grassroots network of … Read More

December 7, 2016

Q&A: Theresa Sweetland

Meet the new executive director of Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Theresa Sweetland brings a lifetime commitment to the arts and social justice to her new role as executive director of Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review. Previously, Sweetland served as the executive/artistic director of Minneapolis’s Intermedia Arts and as director of development and external relations for the Minnesota … Read More

Karen Olson | Public Art Review, Shop Talk

November 18, 2016

Where There’s a Will

Two innovative structural approaches to funding public art may provide models for other communities

A city needs public art in order to flourish. That’s an idea gaining traction among urban planners and other city-makers. But exactly where is that art supposed to come from? The (mostly) dominant model for commissioning urban artworks—especially in cities with a percent-for-art development scheme—involves an administrator in city hall, often in the parks and … Read More

October 19, 2016

Object Lessons

Increasingly, K-12 educators are looking to public art to enrich learning across the curriculum

As K-12 schools around the country kick into high gear, students at one Minnesota school have a unique opportunity to display artworks to the entire neighborhood in an outdoor gallery. It’s called Connections Gallery, and it was conceived of and constructed by students at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, in collaboration with a neighborhood artist, … Read More

July 4, 2016

Project Evaluation as Art

The “e” word doesn’t have to be scary; these groups make it part of the creative process

Measurement, assessment, evaluation: big, complex words that many people associate with stress, fear, or annoyance. But measuring the impact of your art-related work doesn’t have to be a necessary evil that rears its ugly head when you’re rushing to get grant paperwork out the door. In fact, evaluation can be an integral part of the … Read More

Rachel Engh | Public Art Review, Shop Talk

June 20, 2016

Placemaking Gets Deep

Planner Mark VanderSchaaf encourages us to dig for the soul of a city

Today’s cities could use a little soul, says city planner Mark VanderSchaaf. For much of his nearly 12-year tenure as director of regional planning for the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, VanderSchaaf has been arguing for something he calls deep placemaking. Like the ancients, he believes that every city has a … Read More

June 17, 2016

Pacifying Publics

Public art designed in service of “social cohesion” ignores some key urban issues

The romantic concept of the agora as the public meeting space of democracy has captured the imagination of thinkers for centuries. Today, public space, with its implied freedoms, informs our deliberations on what it means to have a vibrant public life in cities. The general notion among urban planners and related professions is that bringing … Read More

March 30, 2016

Making Better Places

Creative placemaking is heading toward Disneyfication—but artists can change that

Creative placemaking has been an outcome of public art projects for years, and the term has recently become an engaging catchphrase for decision makers and developers around the United States. It is encouraging that the arts have become an accepted aspect of developing a place, but the current focus on placemaking also raises important questions: … Read More

Patricia Walsh | Public Art Review, Shop Talk

February 3, 2016

All About Site


Award-winning director and choreographer Stephan Koplowitz never could be confined to traditional spaces. Even though he knew early on that he wanted to choreograph, he didn’t take it as a given that his dances should be presented in theaters. He appreciated the genius of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Merce Cunningham—pioneers of … Read More

Valerie Gladstone | Public Art Review, Shop Talk

October 30, 2015

Bravo, Sort Of

Public art, language, and accountability

Twenty-four years ago I wrote an article to argue that the arts community in the United States was a co-conspirator in its own marginalization. I was referring to the need for arts sector advocates to examine and question the often-disaffecting language we use to communicate about our work. I would like to say that we’ve … Read More

William Cleveland | Public Art Review, Shop Talk

September 21, 2015

Room for Everyone 1

A new public art administrator’s path to reaching underrepresented artists

I spent 17 years as a nurse before transitioning to my career as a public art administrator. In 2012, I began volunteering in my neighborhood to develop and implement a project that paired artwork with vacant commercial storefronts. I quickly found that my desire to connect artists with opportunities to beautify blighted pockets of my … Read More

Joan Vorderbruggen | Public Art Review, Shop Talk

June 26, 2015

Report from the 2015 Public Art Network Preconference

Part of the Americans for the Arts Conference, June 10-12, 2015

Chicago, Ill. – The Public Art Network (PAN), a program of Americans for the Arts (AFTA), holds its annual gathering each June. One of several preconferences held before AFTA’s annual conference, the PAN preconference focuses exclusively on public art. The main themes that emerged at the PAN preconference on June 10-12, 2015, centered on the … Read More

Karin L. Wolf | Public Art Review, Shop Talk