Penny Balkin Bach, executive director of Philadelphia’s Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), is the 2013 recipient of the national Public Art Dialogue (PAD) Award in recognition of her longstanding and continuing contributions to the field of public art. PAD is an affiliate of the College Art Association (CAA). Its membership includes art historians, artists, curators, administrators, educators, architects, landscape architects, and others engaged with the wide arc that public art encompasses. Their goal is to provide platforms for dialogue among public art professionals and students across disciplines. Awardees are chosen from nominations made by PAD members.
Bach will accept the award February 15, 2013 at a ceremony during the annual CAA conference in New York City. The award ceremony is open to the public and will take place from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Hilton New York.
The PAD award for achievement in the field of public art is given annually to an individual whose contributions have greatly influenced public art practice. Established in 2009, the award has been presented to artist and educator Suzanne Lacy; curator, critic, and educator Mary Jane Jacob; Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director of Creative Time; and media artist Ben Rubin.
Bach has spent over 25 years at the helm of the Association for Public Art, the first private non-profit organization devoted to public art in the United States. As Executive Director, Bach has led creative initiatives to broaden appreciation for public art in its multiple forms. In addition to her efforts to protect outdoor sculpture in Philadelphia are the groundbreaking programs: Light Up Philadelphia, Form and Function, New•Land•Marks, and Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO. Most recently, Bach worked to bring the world premiere of OPEN AIR, an innovative interactive light installation by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, to Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Bach currently serves on the Public Art Network Council (PAN) of the Americans for the Arts, and has also served on numerous public art juries in the U.S. and abroad, as well as advisory committees for outdoor sculpture conservation. She is a consummate advocate for public art in her writing as well (such as Public Art in Philadelphia, published by Temple University Press), and has focused on ways to enhance community engagement with public art. Ms. Bach earned her undergraduate degree at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her Masters degree from Goddard College in Vermont.