Public Art Year in Review Spotlight - "Your Essential Magnificence" in Austin, TX
Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network Year in Review program is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects. Up to 50 projects are selected annually through an open-call application process and selected by two to three jurors. The projects are available on CD-Rom in our bookstore and include a PowerPoint, data and project list, and hundreds of project photos.
Our 2013 Public Art Year in Review nomination process is open through April 5, so be sure to nominate a project as we continue spotlight former honorees on ARTSblog.
Today's project is Your Essential Magnificence by James Edward Talbot which was honored in 2012.
This sculpture was commissioned as part of a corridor improvement project along historic Congress Avenue through the iconic area of South Austin nicknamed "SOCO." This district is peppered with unique small business, and has an eclectic and colorful "Keep Austin Weird" aesthetic. It is located along the avenue on a median between two side streets so that pedestrians can stop and safely gather around it.
The sculpture was built in 65 sections and then installed and completed at the site. Hidden inside as part of the ballast are objects and mementos which the artist collected from iconic South Austin places past and present such as Broken Spoken and the Armadillo World Headquarters.
The artist's stated goal was to make "a colorful, bold, eclectic, tactile, and 'weird' icon in the finest South Austin tradition." His sculpture has succeeded in that regard and is well-suited to its context.
The artist also views the sculpture as a shrine to individuality and to the inherent goodness, majesty and essential magnificence of each human being. He encourages people to use it as a backdrop for photo ops.
Check out more photos of Your Essential Magnificence below and remember to nominate a project in your area for the 2013 Year in Review!