On April 28th, Forecast hosted an OpenSpace/OpenBar based on an article written by Bill Cleveland for the Public Art Review. In the article, Cleveland raises questions about the blurry, and often misunderstood, vocabulary we use to describe the complex creative efforts underway in communities around the country. The article encouraged Forecast staff to design a community conversation around the following theme: “Public Art”, “Creative Placemaking” and “Community Engagement”: How do language and definitions of these terms impact the work?

Together, using an adapted Open Space Technology format, more than 40 people generated conversations around the topic. JoAnne Makela, attending artist, was invited to respond to the experience on our website; she harnessed the power and breadth of the conversation in the following poetic composition.


What if what is is good enough?

do you need a translator to get you in the door of the next big experiential extravaganza brought to you by the people who know what you need and want to make your space and place made creatively by creative placemaking

if I could hand you this dictionary of parsed out sentences and anagrammatic terms

would that make understanding easier

my public art project is your new dreamscape

my dance-centric pogo-sticking bounce around the river incorporating wildlife garbage and the homeless is your new gateway to prosperity

A is for art anarchy axis anaphylactic absence

C is for cultural clarity

there must be some wikipedia entry somewhere that explains chronologically and with publicly researched and annotated authority that confirms the historical relevance of art moving through around and in space. and stationary. in place.

the missionaries of this field can cite notions and statistics and data points and reference models

they will confirm the efficacy of the format

creative place—-ing

as if there is no place until someone with a grant develops the vision of the community animates it builds it mediates it thrills it with the color purple






does a place stay made once you’re gone

NOLA and Powderhorn have parades and carnivale and costumes and puppets and people who made it and make it and continue

did Paisley Park unmake itself when the Prince died

did he make the place or did the place make him

once you’ve made the place can you let it go

heart action love possibility mission scale

good words for the lexicon

let the super structure house the where wolves

we good people with commonsense will trudge on and outlive outdance outswing outchance

all y’all

well meaning messengers of convoluted complexity

we are the impact and indicators of what is to come

by the time you have your dictionary figured out

the next best thing will be along


OpenSpace/OpenBar is a community program of Forecast Public Art. Community Engagement at Forecast is focused on idea generation, connectivity, and synergy. Bringing people together fosters innovation, ideas, and connections. Engagements with Forecast utilize creative facilitation techniques that engage participants in deep dialogue, problem solving, and critical thinking about issues related to public art.

You can sign up to participate in future events here.