The Public Art Network Year in Review 2009 (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Liesel Fenner, Jul 08, 2009 0 comments

Water Mover
Water Mover
by Jenny Heishman

Forty exemplary public art projects were selected by curators, Janet Echelman and Mildred Howard and presented June 20, at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Seattle.

The Year in Review saw a record 304 submissions this year, making for a difficult and rigorous selection process.  The jurors scrolled through hundreds of images and project descriptions on a myriad of diverse works projects that debuted in 2008. Of the 304 projects selected, one third were commissioned through percent-for-art ordinances. This percentage seemed smaller than expected, indicating projects are being produced through non-traditional policy mechanisms. In addition, one-third of the projects were developed through a master plan, indicating cities are concertedly implementing long-term public art goals, visioning projects within their city’s urban planning and development.

I wanted to highlight a few projects  that stood out for me. I was impressed to see again, the names of artists who have been repeatedly selected by different Year in Review curators year after year. Since 2005, Kansas City artist, Matthew Dehaemers has been recognized for his temporary, site based, community collaborative works, including this year’s award for The Nereid Beckon. Dehaemers’ Year in Review project recognitions have served to catapult a local-midwest artist into the national spotlight. Dehaemers is a name to look for in the future.

Water Mover
Water Mover
by Jenny Heishman

A theme that was most prominent this year were site-based projects addressing the environment. While the theme of the convention was “Arts in Sustainable Communities” public art has been examining sustainability for the past forty years. Jenny Heishman, a successful gallery artist, moved into public art, and was recognized for Water Mover, a three-dimensional, colorful solution for capturing and draining water through a Seattle park. With a limited budget of roughly $40,000, Heishman’s artistic intervention is a model project for public works engineers especially municipalities with “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects.

The Public Art Network Year in Review CD is available for sale in our bookstore. The CD is a must-have tool, containing over 1000 high-res images as well as PowerPoint presentations and scripts. The images can be individually downloaded for creating your own public art presentations for local public art advocacy. As the municipal budget planning season starts to heat up, public art images are THE resource arts administrators require when presenting public art programs to the City Council. For further questions on the Public Art Network or Year in Review please email us at pan@artsusa.org.

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