Theresa Sweetland joined Forecast in 2016, having previously served as Executive/Artistic Director of Intermedia Arts, and Director of Development and External Relations at the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Her passion and know-how have continually brought together diverse sectors of the community, artists and planners, elders and teens, prisoners and poets, to build collaborations and partnerships that expand and enrich lives and build community.
As we celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2018, Forecast is deeply committed to continuing to design, find, and fund opportunities for hundreds of artists to create groundbreaking, thought-provoking new works in public space. This commitment has been in the DNA of Forecast since Jack Becker founded the organization in 1978. We remain one of the only organizations in the world providing grants, training and coaching directly to public artists. Between our matchmaking services, which bring together artists and cities, and our direct re-granting programs, we have delivered millions of dollars directly to artists, who have created meaningful projects that connect people to each other and their communities.
In Minnesota and across the country, you can see public art made possible by the thoughtful expertise and guidance of Forecast staff. In fact, more than 250 pieces of public art—both temporary and permanent—have been completed by hundreds of artists over the past four decades through Forecast’s services, support and grants.
As we set our sights on the next four decades, we seek to be an even more active and intentional part of people-oriented placemaking that is ethical and equitable, that ensures better lives for all people.
How is this people-oriented focus showing up in our work? You will see it in our magazine as we engage readers in deeper conversations about the trends, best practices, and innovative new work in public art, community-engaged design, and transformative placemaking.
You will hear from people whose voices are often marginalized in more conventional public art conversations. We are proud to launch this newly designed website that puts project ideas, support and inspiration at your fingertips. This empowering content now will be organized according to current issues—from affordable housing and the environment to equity and health—that matter now and will continue to influence our creative work in and with communities.
On the ground, you will see us working across the country, bringing our consulting experience to the tables where decisions are made about our shared public places, working with planners, designers, engineers, architects, city managers, mayors, and other key decisionmakers. As we develop and test more tools and trainings, we will inform you about how to access these opportunities. You will see us walking the talk about equity and inclusion in our own organization, by bringing more voices and diverse experiences to the table. In 2018, we will be training the next generation of public art and placemaking consultants, with a focus on training people of color and from indigenous communities, so we can ensure a more diverse community of professionals and leaders in the field.
Finally, we will take a proactive approach in building a roster of artists who represent diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and perspectives—a roster from which cities across the country can draw. This will include taking our training program, Making It Public, on the road. We are already kicked this off by training 25 artists in Honolulu last fall, and we hope to bring our experience and best practices to more communities in 2018.
In all of these new developments, we are remaining true to our original ambition: to be the leading organization and publication in our field, inspiring people, activating networks, and promoting proven practices—all to advance the transformational power of the arts in public life.
We welcome your voice and your thoughts as we embark on our next 40 years.
—Theresa Sweetland, Executive Director