This year’s experience through the Richfield Artist Resident Engagement project with Cornerstone Group and Forecast Public Art was enticing to me because it was partnership between a private developer and the arts. There are many opportunities that exist within these types of partnerships, but in the end the project left me with many new unanswered questions about art, community, and public space.
When I moved to Twin Cities in the spring of 1998, I witnessed an incredibly supportive and supported community arts scene led by artists like Wing Young Huie and his Lake Street USA project, Roger Cummings at Juxtaposition Arts, and murals by Ta-Coumba Aiken. As time went on I encountered a deeply impactful exhibition by the Groupo del Corazon (Xavier Tavera, Alexa Horochowski, Dougie Padilla, Luis Fitch and many others) at the Soap Factory. In more recent times, I was introduced to the gallery work and community-based process of Natasha Pestich at MCAD and the Pillsbury House Theater. Lately I have been reflecting on these experiences in relationship to my year in Richfield and realized that these artists are a vast source of experience and knowledge that could help me answer some of these unanswered questions.
This realization led me to invite these artists to my studio for conversations about the intersection of art and community. My hope is that artists and developers working in this context view these videos and build upon this knowledge.
Thank you to Roger Cummings, Natasha Pestich, Ta-Coumba Aiken, Wing Young Huie, and Xavier Tavera for taking time to come to Richfield and chat.
Witt Siasoco is a public artist and was artist-in-resident for the Richfield Artist Resident Engagement (RARE) initiative in 2015.