A Summer of Bringing Beauty and Equity to the Built Environment
After a challenging 2020, Forecast was extremely proud to work with artists and partners to bring some magic onto our walls, festivals, fairs and public spaces this summer. From murals to plazas to outdoor film projects, these projects brought joy, provoked new thinking and built connections and awareness in communities this summer. Working behind the scenes with cities, neighborhood organizations, state fairs, power companies, developers and more, the Forecast team provided coaching, consulting, capacity building and technical assistance along the way to make these wonderful public art projects more accessible, sustainable and inclusive. We approached each project with community context in mind and with a focus on bringing more BIPOC artists and curators into the spotlight and into decision-making roles in the field.
Forecast supported 50 artists creating 41 works of art this summer, 88% BIPOC artists, 64% womxn and non-binary artists.
Below are just a few of the projects that wrapped up this summer
Reach out to us if you have a public art project in mind. We would love to help.
Forecast worked with the Creative Enterprise Zone to curate the 10 lead mural artists for the festival and provide ongoing technical assistance and support on the design process, event concept and production, helping muralists move through design to implementation of their concepts. Our team follows a curatorial approach that brings attention to womxn, non-binary and BIPOC artists and the topics most pressing in this moment for muralism. This year we were proud to have half of our artists identify as Indigenous as we continue to strive to build deeper relationships with and support indigenous artists through the festival and in all of our work. We invite you to take a self guided mural tour and listen to the Forecast’s hosted artist talk featuring indigenous women in muralism.
Artists: Kao Lee Thao, Marlena Myles, Aaron Johnson-Ortiz, Missy Whiteman, Holly Miskitoos Henning, Katrina Knutson, Thomasina Topbear, Peyton Scott Russell, Alex Smith and Rock “Cyfi” Martinez.
We were thrilled to be working with the Minnesota State Fair this year to produce Joyful World Mural Park. We worked closely with the Fair’s team to equitably curate 12 muralists who delighted all ages of fair-goers with new large-scale artworks that reflect the world artists want to live in. The beautiful works of art will find permanent homes on the state fair grounds and will continue to be viewed by over one million people every year.
We partnered with the City of Bloomington to design and manage a process to hire a community curator and designer to develop to develop an expansive mural by and for the local community. Ua Si Creative has designed the WE mural for the South Loop neighborhood. It was installed on the 9000-square-foot walls at the corner of American Boulevard and 30th Avenue South. Ua Si brought in additional BIPOC artists and art groups into the mural process, expanding who is included in the curatorial role in public art. This follows a commitment by us to build capacity in communities with which we work.
Artists: Andrés Guzmán and Xee Reiter, City Mischief featuring Thomasina Topbear and Tom Jay, Marlena Myles, Martzia Thometz, Reggie LeFlore, and Ua Si Creative.
Working with the Ackerberg Group, we curated a national artist to design and install a one-of-a-kind mural on the exterior of a new building on West 7th Street in St. Paul. The building, called the Alvera, will be the largest modular construction project built in the Twin Cities. Aaron de la Cruz has designed and painted a mural that covers much of the building’s upper exterior. Utilizing his unique “Zera” painting style (influenced by the weaving threads of a Mexican serape blanket), Aaron created a design that symbolizes the original inspiration for the building: the feeling of being wrapped in care. The nearby healthcare facilities and hospitality industry in the neighborhood are acknowledged through this theme. Local artists will be hired to paint murals on the bottom sections of the building in a future phase.
Larry Cohen Recognition Project
The County and City, by official resolution, established the project to honor, remember and carry forward the legacy and work of Judge Larry Cohen, who devoted his life to promoting diverse and inclusive leadership as Chair of the Ramsey County Board, Mayor of Saint Paul, and Chief Judge of the Second Judicial District (Ramsey County).
A diverse group of citizens and elected officials from the city, county and judicial branch came together under the leadership of Commissioner Jim McDonough to give life to the project. With North East Neighborhoods Development Corporation as the fiscal agent and Forecast Public Art providing project management direction, the committee issued a request for proposal to create artwork that reflects the themes of citizenship and diversity. They selected Marjorie Pitz to design the project.
The project is located on the southeast corner of the City Hall and Courthouse building (Kellogg Boulevard and Wabasha Street). Designed by artist Marjorie Pitz, it will serve as a welcoming place where people can learn about Saint Paul’s rich immigrant history and the values and work of Judge Cohen.
Major components of the project include:
A pergola of light with slender poles that mimic the vertical stainless steel details of the building and support a network of overhead cables and light-catching elements.
Dove chairs that provide playful seating and become glowing lanterns at night, illuminating cultural stories from St. Paul’s diverse community.
The Cohen memorial sculpture providing a welcoming symbol that can be interpreted as an open hand lifted in greeting and as a dove.
An “ethics path” with short, declarative statements that invite people to follow in Cohen’s footsteps.
A diverse design review committee was formed to assist Pitz:
Leetta Douglas, Historic Preservation Commission and Board Chair, St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation
Sia Lo, friend of Judge Cohen and attorney
Jean Krueger, Ramsey County Property Manager
Amy Mino, Executive Director, Minnesota Landmark Center
Bianca Paz, Landscape Architect, City of St. Paul
John Poupart, former President of American Indian Policy Center
MaryAnne Quiroz, Indigenous Roots Cultural Center
Aki Shibata, Frogtown Neighborhood Organization Co-Secretary, Community organizer, artist:
Lyssa Washington, Architect, 4RM+ULA Architecture
About Marjorie Pitz
Marjorie Pitz created the landscape architecture firm Martin & Pitz Associates, Inc. in 1983. She enlarged her scope to include public art and for the past decade has focused on environmental sculpture. She designed the Laos Memorial at the Minnesota State Capitol, Birds of a Different Feather on Nicollet Mall, From Service to Solidarity (Pullman Porters) for Model Cities, and Planned Parenthood Morning Glory in St. Paul, among many other projects.
Partnering with Trammel Crow, we designed and led a selection process to hire muralists to integrate works in the new NOKO building, a new mixed-use building with 125 rental dwelling units with a ground floor grocery store. We facilitated a selection process with the developer, to select artists with a connection to the Nokomis or surrounding neighborhood, and hired two artist teams to develop murals. Dani Bianchini and Pablo Kalaka were selected to install a mural on the west side of the building that incorporates painting and mosaic, and Liv Novotny and Tomas Aratti were hired to install a mural in 4 sections on the east side of the building. Both murals respond to themes of nature and community, and create an atmosphere of joy and beauty for building tenants and neighbors alike.
“Under the Surface”
We collaborated with St. Paul Port Authority and MVP properties to hire a local, early-career artist to develop a public art project at the Midway Building in St. Paul, MN, that would provide an amenity for tenants of the building. It is the first LEED silver certified warehouse building in the state of Minnesota, with extensive solar energy arrays on the roof and water capture and treatment systems underneath the parking lot. With mentorship from Seitu Jones, artist Angela Two Stars developed “Under the Surface” – a seating area and tenant amenity, featuring blown up images of human systems that connect us all. This included blood cells, bone structures, DNA, and water molecules. Angela created visuals of these systems through ceramic plates, fired in the kiln at Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center.
Arts & Transportation Rapid Response (A&TRR) phase 2
Smart Growth America (SGA) asked us to be a part of their Arts & Transportation Rapid Response program, to help them match public artists with transit agencies in order to address COVID related transportation issues and longstanding transportation inequities. We completed the 2nd round of this project in July, working with MARTA in Atlanta, Port Authority in Pittsburgh, and Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation in Ware, MA. Learn more about the artists and projects.
We facilitated an artist call for a new residential building in Brooklyn Center, MN called Sonder House. Through a community committee selection process, artist Peyton Scott Russell was selected to design and fabricate a new fence on the property. Peyton held community workshops to understand what was important to those living in the building, and traced images of community members into the design of the fence. The cut outs in the fence cast shadows on the surrounding landscape throughout the day.
Watermark Art Center green space study
The Watermark Art Center recently constructed a new building in Bemidji, MN, with empty green space on one side of the building. We were hired to conduct a study and make recommendations on how the green space could become an extension of indoor programming and an amenity to the community. We conducted focus groups and 1-1 conversations with folks in the region to understand how this space could be welcoming and showcase the quality of work inside. From this feedback, we developed an actionable plan the Watermark can use to test out different strategies for organizing and programming the space.
Twin Cities Media Alliance Making It Public
In our second year working with the Twin Cities Media Alliance, we facilitated a workshop about public art to the new Our Space is Spoken For artist cohort. Through small group activities, panel conversations, and more, we discussed the contemporary field of public art, how to equitably engage community members in public art projects, and practical information about where to find funding, what to look for in contracts, and how to construct a budget.
Working with Greystar and ESG architecture, we facilitated an artist call for artwork at the new Bower Building in Edina, MN. Artist Lisa Elias was selected to create a gateway artwork and water fountain with dynamic lighting to welcome residents home to the building and provide an eye catching space for respite for folks walking on the nearby promenade. Lisa’s design features arches with floral patterns, and lighting that changes color throughout the day.
If you are an artist who is inspired by the work with did this summer and want to apply to realize your own public art dream or learn more in Making It Public, you can do that!
Applications for our annual public artist grant program are open until 11:59 PM CDT, October 18, 2021. Learn more and find application assistance through our grants page.
Are you an artist who lives in Saint Paul or Lowertown? Through 6:00 PM CDT, October 18, 2021, we are accepting applications for a FREE 5-week Making It Public workshop intensive. Learn more and apply.
Sign up for our newsletters: With our general Public Art Update, receive monthly insights on what’s happening at Forecast and in the public art field. With our quarterly consulting newsletter, Making Change, follow the exciting work our team leads around the country.
Interested in sponsoring or advertising in FORWARD? Contact us!