Forecast Public Art http://forecastpublicart.org Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:46:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pollinating Neglected Places http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/pollinating-neglected-places/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/pollinating-neglected-places/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=6890 Juan William Chávez, an artist and cultural activist, sees potential in vacant spaces. Since 2010, he’s been exploring the former site of the failed Pruitt-Igoe urban housing project in St. Louis, Missouri. Built in 1953, the development was riddled with poverty, violence, and segregation until it was eventually demolished in 1972. Over the years, a … Read More

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Juan William Chávez, an artist and cultural activist, sees potential in vacant spaces. Since 2010, he’s been exploring the former site of the failed Pruitt-Igoe urban housing project in St. Louis, Missouri. Built in 1953, the development was riddled with poverty, violence, and segregation until it was eventually demolished in 1972. Over the years, a vast forest with diverse wildlife has sprouted in its place. But the site remains a historical scar on the landscape.

“Pruitt-Igoe has a lot of attention on the history, but that attention is usually about the violence or the modernism, or the actual implosion of the buildings,” says Chávez, who is originally from Peru and now lives in St. Louis. He considers the city his studio. “I was really interested in continuing that conversation, and seeing how we can take all that energy and reverse the current.”

In an effort to activate the local community around healing this negative chapter in the city’s history, he developed the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary project. Its premise: to revivify the infamous space through beekeeping and urban gardening. To prepare, Chávez studied bees in public space at the Luxembourg Gardens in France, and went to Spain to see the first known cave art showing human interaction with bees. In 2012, Laumeier Sculpture Park featured an exhibition of his research as well as a sculpture that replicated the footprint of a Pruitt-Igoe building.

Also that year, Chávez launched a pilot version of the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary project through his nonprofit Northside Workshop. Located in a small urban garden near the Pruitt-Igoe site, the pilot includes educational workshops to engage the community in beekeeping, urban gardening, and reclaiming neglected spaces. Chávez hopes to eventually take the projectan outstanding example of community-based public art, which Chávez referred to as public sculptureto the Pruitt-Igoe site itself.

“Monuments on pedestals in parks serve their purpose, but public sculptures can actually be alive,” Chávez says. “They can be slowly developed right in front of you.”

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Old Bay Bridge to Become Public Art http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/old-bay-bridge-become-public-art/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/old-bay-bridge-become-public-art/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 05:00:37 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=8156 Just over a year ago the Eastern span of the new Bay Bridge was completed. Shortly thereafter, another daunting project began: deconstructing the old Bay Bridge. While the old span was deemed unsafe for commuters, it is built of valuable materials fit for reuse. Many artists have seized the opportunity to bring new life to … Read More

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Just over a year ago the Eastern span of the new Bay Bridge was completed. Shortly thereafter, another daunting project began: deconstructing the old Bay Bridge.

While the old span was deemed unsafe for commuters, it is built of valuable materials fit for reuse. Many artists have seized the opportunity to bring new life to these old parts. Led by artist Karen Cusolito, a group petitioned for some of the steel to be salvaged for public art projects throughout California.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently announced that roughly $2.2 million and 300 tons of steel will indeed be dedicated towards public art.

Already many ideas for commissions have come flooding in. They range from the practical (light poles) to the imaginative (a giant robot) to community-focused gathering spaces (gazebos). Whichever ideas are selected, the legacy of this historic bridge will undoubtably be celebrated in new and unexpected ways.

For more coverage, read the article on East Bay Express.

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Installation of Public Art at Excelsior Library http://forecastpublicart.org/forecast/2014/10/installation-public-art-excelsior-library/ http://forecastpublicart.org/forecast/2014/10/installation-public-art-excelsior-library/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:22:08 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=8262 Join Hennepin County Library – Excelsior to celebrate the installation of the library’s new public art on October 25 at 11 a.m. View the library’s fine art murals, hear from elected and library officials, and watch artist Greg Preslicka finish the final mural on-site. Preslicka is a graphic designer, illustrator, muralist, and painter. He creates large-scale … Read More

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Join Hennepin County Library – Excelsior to celebrate the installation of the library’s new public art on October 25 at 11 a.m. View the library’s fine art murals, hear from elected and library officials, and watch artist Greg Preslicka finish the final mural on-site.

Preslicka is a graphic designer, illustrator, muralist, and painter. He creates large-scale wall murals for spaces such as libraries, YMCAs, daycares, and activity centers. His murals are now in 55 different organizations and businesses in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Excelsior Library’s “Gathering Together” murals represent the many ways Excelsior is a gathering place. Preslicka painted past and present images of Excelsior on separate panels and mounted them together to represent how Excelsior has come to be what it is today. The project was funded by One Percent for Art. Forecast worked with Hennepin County Library to plan the project.

See photos of the art and the new library, which opened September 13.

 

 

 

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New Media Night 2014 http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/current-projects/2014/10/new-media-night-2014/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/current-projects/2014/10/new-media-night-2014/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:48 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=8210 The third annual New Media Night Festival, which celebrates temporary, site-specific light and sound art, brought some exceptionally progressive public displays to life this past summer. Set in the Nikola-Lenivets Art Park located about 125 miles from Moscow, the festival utilizes the existing 28 landscape installations as its canvas. Every year, different artists are invited … Read More

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The third annual New Media Night Festival, which celebrates temporary, site-specific light and sound art, brought some exceptionally progressive public displays to life this past summer. Set in the Nikola-Lenivets Art Park located about 125 miles from Moscow, the festival utilizes the existing 28 landscape installations as its canvas. Every year, different artists are invited to create momentary performances that meld an appreciation for both nature and technology.

Opening the event was the spectacular video mapping show put together by Russian multimedia and design group Radugadesign. Video mapping is a complex technique that allows any 3D surface, including interweaving lines, to serve as a video display. Projected against Nikolay Polissky’s tangled and unbelievably sophisticated Universal Mind (2012), Radugadesign used color, rhythm and contrast to take the audience on a digital journey unlike any other. Electronic music by Mexican artist Murcof further set the scene.

For more images of the festival, visit the 2014 New Media Night webpage.

Video courtesy Radugadesign (http://radugadesign.com/en/projects/208).

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Upcoming Events for “Broadway: 1000 Steps” http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/upcoming-callwalks-panel-broadway-1000-steps/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/upcoming-callwalks-panel-broadway-1000-steps/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 01:02:40 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=8219 Mary Miss, an artist dedicated to collaborating with scientists in order to educate people about environmental issues, wants to remind us that every city is in fact an ecosystem and that every part of that system, including you and me, plays an important role. Miss is known for bringing such problems as energy consumption and … Read More

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Mary Miss, an artist dedicated to collaborating with scientists in order to educate people about environmental issues, wants to remind us that every city is in fact an ecosystem and that every part of that system, including you and me, plays an important role. Miss is known for bringing such problems as energy consumption and watershed to light in a visual way that all people can understand. By doing so, abstract issues become much more tangible, helping us to come together in order to take action and make change.

Highlighting her latest project, City as Living Laboratory which takes place along 20 sites running up and down Broadway in Manhattan, Miss has organized some exciting outdoor dialogues between artists and scientists called Broadway: 1000 Steps. The public is invited to listen in and participate in these “touring” talks or WALKS, which will examine on site the environmental challenges particular to the neighborhoods surrounding this important and busy road. Three one-hour WALKS will take place Saturday, October 25 and Saturday, November 1 starting at 1 pm.

For more information and a list of events, visit the City as Living Laboratory website and look at Broadway: 100 Steps.

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Water Works http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/water-works/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/water-works/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=6615 BRIGHTWATER TREATMENT PLANT (KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON) Artists: T. Ellen Sollod, Buster Simpson, Jann Rosen-Queralt Why did artists help design and decorate a new wastewater treatment plant in the Seattle area? Because it’s the law. A King County ordinance actually specifies that artists be involved early and often in community infrastructure projects. “The commitment of King … Read More

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BRIGHTWATER TREATMENT PLANT (KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON)

Artists: T. Ellen Sollod, Buster Simpson, Jann Rosen-Queralt

Why did artists help design and decorate a new wastewater treatment plant in the Seattle area? Because it’s the law. A King County ordinance actually specifies that artists be involved early and often in community infrastructure projects.

“The commitment of King County to engage artists early in the process is unique, I believe,” says artist T. Ellen Sollod, who was involved in the planning of the $1.8 billion Brightwater Treatment Plant since before its site was chosen.

Sollod and fellow artists Buster Simpson and Jann Rosen-Queralt developed the art master plan for the project and served on the design team, commissioning artworks and acting as mentors and resources to other artists.

The result is a water treatment facility that has elements of art, design, science, engineering, and ecology woven into it. Most of the acreage is open to the public, creating a sense of community ownership unusual, to say the least, for what we used to call a sewage plant. On the grounds is a salmon stream restoration, while inside are artworks such as one by Jane Tsong that “blesses” the water as it moves through the facility, and another by Sollod that references the beneficial microorganisms that clean water.

WATERWASH ABC (BRONX, NEW YORK CITY)

Artist: Lillian Ball

Lillian Ball’s project Waterwash ABC in the Bronx sets itself apart from a lot of public art. For one thing, it’s eminently functional, capturing polluted runoff from a large parking lot and diverting it to a wetland-grassland complex before returning it to the Bronx River. For another, it’s an artist-driven project, conceived and executed by Ball and her collaborators, rather than having the artist tacked on at the end of a grant-making process.

“The paradigm is very different,” says Ball.

The public can engage with the piece by strolling a handsome, decorative walkway to a viewing area perched above the catchment and the river. Ball enlisted the neighborhood’s help in creating the project, working with youth from local nonprofit Rocking the Boat as well as an excavator, a hydrologist, and scientists.

Ball coined the term waterwash for a previous water-filtering project. The ABC comes from the name of the business located at the site, ABC Carpet, which contributed to the project mostly by allowing its parking lot to be cleaned up.

Now that the construction is complete, Ball is keeping the community involved through a series of programs at the site, including concerts and dance performances. She revels in the ongoing feedback from the youth volunteers who helped with tasks including planting. “They post on Facebook,” says Ball, “saying things like, ‘Look how our babies are doing!’”

RIVERS RUN THROUGH US (SANTA FE RIVER, NEW MEXICO)

Artists: Bobbe Besold, Valerie Martinez, Dominique Mazeaud

When Bobbe Besold and her fellow artists Valerie Martinez and Dominique Mazeaud teamed up for a community engagement project centered around the ecologically troubled Santa Fe River in New Mexico, they knew where to begin: at the beginning. Early in the process, they undertook a five-day walking pilgrimage along the 46-mile river, from its protected mountain headwaters in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, through its urban stretches, and to its mouth at the Rio Grande.

The Santa Fe is so heavily tapped by the city of Santa Fe that it often runs dry in lower stretches, but during the artists’ hike it was flowing vigorously from spring snowmelt. Besold recalls the trio being joyously greeted by a group of local homeschooled children and their parents—and the same day being accused of trespassing (they weren’t) by residents of a private community. The two reactions embodied different relationships with the river, says Besold: one of collective stewardship and one of private ownership.

The walk and the insights it produced helped lay the groundwork for a vibrant community engagement project. The artists created poetry and art installations, staged performances, gathered stories and testimonials. They helped schoolchildren make and launch paper boats with wildflower seeds in them and teamed with classes for other science and art projects.

Besold credits the Santa Fe environmental group WildEarth Guardians as early supporters and donors in Rivers Run Through Us, a project of the arts nonprofit Littleglobe that was funded by grants and donations of many sizes. Besold considers it a success for raising “an awareness that we are connected through this living, physical being, the river.”

EMSCHERKUNST.2013 (EMSCHER RIVER, RUHR, GERMANY)

Various artists

The Emscher River in the Ruhr region of western Germany was nearly engineered out of existence, having been turned into an open sewer that was dammed, channelized, and polluted by industry. A multiyear, multibillion-dollar project aims to return the Emscher to a more natural state, and the associated Emscherkunst art and culture exhibition celebrates this restoration every three years with artworks and events.

Emscherkunst.2013, which took place from June through early October, billed itself as “an art discovery event,” encouraging not just gallery strolling but active outdoor exploration along the river. Attendees could bring or rent a bicycle to tour the six participating cities along a 50-mile route, and even spend a night in one of 1,000 small tents designed by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

The images, patterns, and text on the tents “are meant to evoke entirely different feelings than those associated with the former industry- and capitalism-oriented history of the region,” Ai explained to curator Florian Matzner. “It was important to create a colorful and carefree ambiance and, most importantly, not to leave a permanent mark on the land.”

LIVING WATERS OF LARIMER (PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA)

Artist: Betsy Damon

Larimer is not a rich neighborhood—in fact, it’s one of the poorer parts of Pittsburgh, riddled with residential and commercial vacancies. But the community is rich in rainwater, thanks to its position on a plateau in the relatively rainy city. Under the auspices of a project called Living Waters of Larimer, the people of Larimer are working to reclaim this resource for their own economic and aesthetic benefit.

“This model would take the rainwater out of the hands of the municipality and place it into the hands of the citizens,” says Betsy Damon, who’s working on the project with fellow environmental artist Bob Bingham, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon University.

Rather than allowing the water to run off the plateau and disappear into the pipes and buried waterways of the Pittsburgh storm water system, Damon and Bingham aim to collect and divert it to wetland and irrigation demonstrations, to cisterns for use in gardens or businesses, perhaps to an aquaponics greenhouse or a water park. This “integrated rainwater catchment infrastructure” is another way to say “using every last drop.”

The project just got a boost from a $250,000 Heinz Endowments grant, allowing Damon and Bingham, along with collaborators the Larimer Green Team and the Kingsley Association, to forge ahead. “Just having a community that would actually own their rainwater— it’s radical in the United States,” she says with a laugh. “You know, governments own the rainwater.”

TURN TO THE RIVER (TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA)

Various artists

Like many mid-American cities, Terre Haute, Indiana, was built on a river that it then turned its back on. For decades, development, industry, and pollution left the Wabash inaccessible and often ignored—until recently. The city termed 2013 “The Year of the River,” and the Terre Haute–based nonprofit Art Spaces Inc. launched its ongoing Turn to the River project. Both initiatives aim to reconnect residents with the Wabash River on the west side of downtown.

“Everyone is talking about the river now,” says Mary Kramer, executive director of Art Spaces. Art Spaces helped foster the conversation by meeting with 34 stake-holding organizations, holding three public meetings, and issuing a public survey about ways to breathe new life into the riverfront and the adjacent downtown. They’re focusing initial efforts on a government plaza and a park near the river. This work on the east side of the river is complemented on the west by a recently reestablished 2,400-acre wetland called Wabashiki.

Says Kramer, “It is unusual to have this at a city’s edge, so easily accessible and perhaps keeping us honest as we rethink the development along the river on the east side.”

The work has been fueled by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the city’s Department of Redevelopment, and local colleges and universities. Art Spaces plans to release a draft plan in July 2014.

“There are a lot of good reasons for us to get involved with the river,” says Kramer, “not the least of which is that there are many outstanding artists working in the public realm that are doing fabulous works and helping to solve problems for communities.”

THE FARGO PROJECT (FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA)

Artist: Jackie Brookner

In recent decades, as Fargo, North Dakota, has been ravaged by floods, engineers built a series of broad storm water detention basins throughout the city. During heavy rain or runoff, the earthen basins offer insurance against catastrophe—but the rest of the time they sit empty, vast and featureless depressions that divide neighborhoods.

Enter artist Jackie Brookner, who with Fargo city planner Nicole Crutchfield is working with technicians and residents to put the basins to additional use in the Fargo Project. Planned for the first 18-acre site are prairie restoration projects, community gardens, walking trails, play areas, an overlook, and a wetland that will hold and naturally filter water. The project is a natural fit for Brookner’s background in artworks that remediate polluted urban waters, and for Crutchfield’s grounding in landscape architecture, natural resources, and city government. Fargo’s many diverse communities were included in the planning process.

“We wanted to engage people, especially people who usually don’t have a voice,” says Brookner, noting that it would have been faster and easier to make a few token outreach efforts than to have the “honest and rich” community involvement they’ve chosen.

Brookner acknowledges that it’s the most complex project she’s ever worked on. “It’s slow design, like slow food,” she says. “It’s not simple and straightforward, it’s messy and complicated. But the rewards are so enormous that it’s worth it.”

PENINSULA, MEGA DUNES, AND BARRIER ISLANDS (NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK)

Artist: Agnes Denes

Agnes Denes subtitled her best-known work, a wheat field grown in downtown Manhattan, “A Confrontation.” Her latest work-in-progress is also a confrontation—this time with the effects of climate change. Ever ambitious, Denes wants to create a peninsula, barrier islands, and what she terms “mega dunes” off the New York coast to protect the shore from battering mega storms.

Never one to shy away from big ideas, Denes has envisioned her most ambitious undertaking yet. The project, if realized, would cost millions if not billions and involve a host of expert collaborators including scientists, geologists, and oceanographers. Denes says it’s the culmination of a lifetime of experience.

“I actually began this work forty years ago speaking at global conferences in Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto, and London, about global warming, climate change, and the ramifications and pitfalls of geo-engineering,” says Denes.

She’s already working with scientists on a “proto-dune” for one Rockaways neighborhood that will be stabilized by rock and plantings of pines, sand grasses, and other vegetation.

“It will become a coastal ecosystem,” she says, as well as a barrier to high water.

Denes expects resistance but faces it with her characteristic resolve. The interference with a project of this magnitude is expected to be as strong as the ocean waves,” says Denes. “I am used to being on the edge and going against the tide—well, here happens to be the ocean.”

WATER TOWER (ADDISON, TEXAS)

Artist: Brad Goldberg

Both air and water figure into the concept behind Brad Goldberg’s water tower design for the city of Addison, Texas. The water tank seems to have been sliced in half like an onion, and atop the flat surface stand eight spiral-shaped vertical-axis wind turbines.

“I believe in trying to multitask in my work,” says Goldberg, who worked with a renewable energy consultant and the Freese and Nichols architecture and engineering firm on the project. “Since a water tower was going to be built that would stand 200 feet in the air, it seemed like a plausible idea to capture the wind and use it as a sculptural component.”

The water tank’s 1.5 million gallon capacity meets the town’s needs, while the 5-kilowatt turbines generate more power than the water facility uses, making it a “net zero” energy project. To observers out and around in Addison, the whirring blades add new interest to the skyline. “It can be seen from a pretty good distance, and to see all of the turbines spinning at the same time is very kinetic and beautiful,” Goldberg says.

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Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/book-reviews/2014/10/art-place-site-specific-art-americas/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/book-reviews/2014/10/art-place-site-specific-art-americas/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:00:26 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=7003 From Canada to Argentina, Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas takes us on a powerful tour of some of the most significant site-specific works of art of the past 10,000 years. Arranged from north to south, works by indigenous peoples from the Haida to the Inca are intermixed with contemporary pieces by artists including Matthew … Read More

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From Canada to Argentina, Art & Place: Site-specific Art of the Americas takes us on a powerful tour of some of the most significant site-specific works of art of the past 10,000 years. Arranged from north to south, works by indigenous peoples from the Haida to the Inca are intermixed with contemporary pieces by artists including Matthew Barney, Patricia Johanson, and Jesús Rafael Soto. The resulting juxtapositions—as well as the connections you find as a reader—make the book a richly interesting geographical, temporal, cultural, and historical experience.

Created by the editors of Phaidon Press, Art & Place is gorgeously photocentric. Short texts perfect for short attention spans offer insight into the sites, cultures, aesthetics, and the artists themselves. But with 800 large-format color images, this is the kind of book you can slowly page through for the photos alone. Afterwards, you feel that you’ve taken a journey not just through land and time, but through the human imagination.

Click here to purchase.

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Don’t miss your chance to apply! http://forecastpublicart.org/forecast/2014/10/dont-miss-chance-apply/ http://forecastpublicart.org/forecast/2014/10/dont-miss-chance-apply/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 18:51:03 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=8197 October 15, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Forecast’s grants for Minnesota-based emerging and mid-career artists. This year, we are offering the following opportunities: McKnight Professional Development Grants: $5,000 for mid-career artists to assist with the development of a public art project idea or to participate in activities that will help them further their careers as … Read More

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October 15, 2014 is the deadline to apply for Forecast’s grants for Minnesota-based emerging and mid-career artists. This year, we are offering the following opportunities:

McKnight Professional Development Grants: $5,000 for mid-career artists to assist with the development of a public art project idea or to participate in activities that will help them further their careers as public artists.

Jerome Planning Grants: $2,500 for emerging artists to support research and development or the planning phase of a public art project.

Jerome Project Grants: $8,000 for emerging artists to create a public artwork in Minnesota.

 

Need help crafting your proposal?

Check out our top grant writing tips below:

 

Follow instructions!

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Every year, we receive incomplete applications and applications that do not follow requirements may be deemed ineligible. So…please adhere to all page limits and work sample requirements so that your brilliant idea has a fighting chance!

Speak to the selection criteria

The guidelines offer a roadmap -we are telling you what we want. Addressing each criterion will help the panelists and Forecast staff better understand your proposal.

Make sure your proposal fits the intentions of the program.

To make the case that you are a good investment and it’s urgent that you are funded you need to fully understand the program’s intentions. Sometimes they can appear to be a bit broad and all encompassing and it may be tough to find your place within them. Read all available information, look at past funded projects, and ask the program staff for any clarification you need.

Consider your audience, it’s not enough to say The Public

Whenever writing a grant proposal, thinking about the audience – who’s reading your proposal and who will experience your artwork. Panelists look for evidence that you not only know who your audience is but you have worked to identify what they might want or need out of a public art project. The Forecast grant panel is comprised of public art professionals from all over the country, so be sure to add context about site, community, history, collaborators, etc.

Think of your project as an investment and the panel as investors

This is a monetary arrangement and your proposal is an investment. It is therefore important to make a clear, logical case as to why you and your project are a good investment (your proposed work meets stated goals, values and objectives of the grant) and what the outcome or benefit of investing might be. The panelists want to feel sound about the decision they are recommending to the organization. Giving them this reassurance through your proposal language is invaluable.

Establish urgency – why me, why this, why now?

You are trying to convince the panel that your application is absolutely, positively, the one to fund! Your narrative should tell the panel, “you have to fund this grant because I am the right person to get THIS grant at this TIME!” Try brainstorming about these questions to support your narrative development “why here? why now? why this? why me?” to make your case.

Refine your idea before you start writing

Ever heard of the term “elevator speech”? An “elevator speech” is a condensed, easy to understand version of your idea that could be communicated over the course of the average elevator ride! Developing an “elevator speech” will help you refine both your idea and the language you use to describe it. Try telling your idea to multiple people until you have boiled it down to its essence. Once you have your elevator speech and some main points, share your written narrative and our grant selection criteria with 2-3 people for quick responses. This not only helps you hone your language but it also provides a litmus test. Ask questions like, does this make any sense to you? Do you think I address the criteria areas? Do you understand what I am proposing to do?

Keep it readable

Panelists are reading hundreds of applications; they are busy professionals with packed schedules. This means they may be reading aps at midnight in bed after a long day of work, on an airplane, or in-between meetings at a lunch break. Anything you can do to make their reading experience easier is essential – clear formatting (no tiny fonts), concise answers and an organized layout will support your successful delivery. If creating concise statements in the page restrictions is difficult, consider simplifying your project idea.

 

Want to learn more about our grant opportunities?

Email grants@forecastpublicart.org with any questions and visit our Artist Services page for detailed grant descriptions and links to apply!

 

 

 

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Free Your Mind http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/free-mind/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/10/free-mind/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 12:00:09 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=6703 Community engagement in public art comes in many forms; and probably just as numerous are the reasons we should be interested in such engagements. But one reason, above all others, is profoundly important—especially given the widespread insistence (as evidenced by recent “Occupy” movements, citizen uprisings, and public protests) on full involvement in public political, social, … Read More

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Community engagement in public art comes in many forms; and probably just as numerous are the reasons we should be interested in such engagements. But one reason, above all others, is profoundly important—especially given the widespread insistence (as evidenced by recent “Occupy” movements, citizen uprisings, and public protests) on full involvement in public political, social, and economic life.

In this context, meaningful engagement is connected to the notion of publicness in the term public art. On the one hand, this sense of publicness is linked to a desire to elevate public art above the sometimes reasonable charge that it is spendthrift frivolity. But the notion of publicness also affirms the role art can play in awakening the imagination and radicalizing thought and subjectivity.

For those who saw them, who can forget the images that flew around the world on the night of November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall started coming down? These were inspiring and poignant pictures that still have the power to reinforce our belief that people can and ought to be able to shape their own world. They are a potent reminder that although systems and structures seem cemented in place, the common sense they are built upon can be challenged and undermined.

Let us be clear, I am not arguing for “political” or “issues-based” public art per se. To the contrary, art’s political potential stretches well beyond issues and slogans—for whenever the imagination reigns free, it offers hope that things might be different. This dynamic represents art’s distinctive power. But what I do think is important is that site-specific artworks ought to engage a wider social contingency so that they respond to the real social situation of people.

OUR GREATEST ASSET IS AN UNFETTERED IMAGINATION

The public sphere is where ideas compete to show us how life could be organized. It is also the place where inequalities and exclusions are exposed—and challenged. Political change cannot occur without direct action, and art is not sufficient action on its own. But art can play an important role by giving voice to what is silent in the existing balance of power.

Art causes us to reflect on who we are and how we relate to others. Thus, individual works can either reproduce the “common sense” that secures structural inequalities and exclusions, or they can challenge it. And the result of such challenges will be the same awareness reawakened by images of the Berlin Wall: an awareness that people made these structures and people can tear them down. Because of the central role that the unfettered imagination plays in its creation, art is especially well suited for such awakenings. Therefore, it is important to find ways to engage in and with communities to release and empower people’s imaginations.

There are many possibilities. Les Nouveaux Commanditaires (the New Patrons) model in Europe engages communities as the decisionmaking commissioners of public art projects, thus championing the ideal that people should participate as citizens. Working in Gdańsk,Poland, I recently witnessed a range of neighborhood projects that were initiated, and democratically selected, by the communities they served. The projects were staged under the umbrella of the Narracje (Narratives) festival of temporary public art and encouraged local residents to co-author projects about their lives and neighborhood. Whether empowering engagement occurs at a project’s inception or during its presentation to audiences, the key question is what new sensations and challenging thoughts can be born out of the sensitive pairing of art projects with public spaces in order to shed light on the real situation for ordinary people.

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Repurposing the University http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/on-location/2014/10/repurposing-university/ http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/on-location/2014/10/repurposing-university/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://forecastpublicart.org/?p=6391 California (2010) – California artists and arts institutions are adjusting to downsizing in all sectors of state public programs. Scarcity can trigger unimaginative belt-tightening, but it also opens a liberal space for those on the margins to enter stage left with different propositions. In the face of economic and social instability, a new creative force … Read More

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California (2010) – California artists and arts institutions are adjusting to downsizing in all sectors of state public programs. Scarcity can trigger unimaginative belt-tightening, but it also opens a liberal space for those on the margins to enter stage left with different propositions. In the face of economic and social instability, a new creative force is leading the charge to reimagine the future. Such exploratory models of arts practice are percolating from within the nine University of California (UC) campuses with arts programs, positioning artists to lead in California’s uncertain future.

Since its inception in 1987, the UC Institute for Research (UCIRA) has served as an intercampus granting agency and think tank for innovative arts research in the UC system. In 2005, under a new administration, the institute expanded its mission. After an extensive tour of UC’s arts programs, leaders at UCIRA were struck by the degree of duplication in self-perception, efforts, facilities, and programs, as each campus aspired to be a self-contained research environment. In response, UCIRA aimed new programs toward cooperation and launched funding of experimental projects in visual, performing, and new media arts (see www.ucira.ucsb.edu).

Recently, UCIRA announced three new initiatives to foster partnerships among UC researchers and broader sectors of the arts and its publics. As part of this seeding effort, UCIRA is commissioning artists both within and outside the university to serve as consultants to the university, with their “study” focused on the UC system itself as a site for critical self-reflection in this time of crisis and transition. The new initiatives are Social Ecologies, Social Technologies, and Integrative Methodologies.

Social Ecologies

The Social Ecologies initiative provides opportunities for artists to investigate the diverse physical terrains belonging to the state, as well as the contested relationships between natural and developed spaces. Embedding artists in various fields encourages a wide range of research related to the state’s development, use, and interpretation of land.

One program in Social Ecologies, “Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map,” in its third year of partnership with UC–Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery and Palm Desert Graduate Center, is an arts-centered investigation of California’s Mojave and Colorado deserts and of current visualization and mapping technologies. “The need to grapple with the multiple complexities and challenges contained within the actual deserts of the world—and within the no less complex idea of the ‘desert’—is more urgent now than ever,” says Dick Hebdige, UCIRA Desert Studies director.

The most recent desert immersion drew students and scholars from seven UC campuses, along with other participants, to Joshua Tree National Park for three days of exchange. The group explored a vast array of ecologies during site visits to the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center—a complex that includes faux Iraq/Afghanistan training facilities, “Pioneertown” (a Hollywood movie set–turned village), an ecological preserve, and a desert oasis. The participants created 24 temporary site-embedded installations that activated the land and connected with local year-round residents.

UC–Riverside lecturer and artist Ken Ehrlich, “was inspired by the idea of how to facilitate future research and art projects in the desert.” He developed a set of conceptual drawings for a roving desert vehicle that would become an on-site field-teaching environment suitable for a range of off-the-grid mobile dwellers. Artist Gabie Strong, from UC–Irvine, co-organized a collaborative visual-sound performance, UR Rituals. This one-time media event, located in and around an abandoned homestead, produced a contradictory set of associations between the landscape and its history of human occupation.

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