Blog Posts for Public Art

Recession, Rejection, Reflection (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Liesel Fenner, May 06, 2010 0 comments

Liesel Fenner

For many art and design professionals working on projects for public space, we often do not see our ideas and visions realized. This is especially true when a recession hits and the construction and building industries come to a standstill. Private developers cannot get loans, bond measures do not win voter approval, and nonprofit facility capital campaigns slow to a crawl. It is challenging to retain the vision of creative ideas, when arts organizations are forced to re-examine every penny spent, hoping to avoid fateful cuts to successful programs built during more plentiful times.

For the public art sector, economic downturns are another facet of the many reasons a project may be rejected. Perhaps ‘rejected’ is not completely accurate, but the basic fact is that not every public art proposal gets built—not every idea, realized. For artists accustomed to going into their studio and emerging six days or six months later with a final artwork, the process and timeline is completely different for artists creating artwork for public space. A public artist adds a few extra years to the project completion date (try six years on average) and no differentiation between permanent vs. temporary public art. The timeline and process can be parallel for both forms (i.e. Christo and Jeanne-Claude).

Many public art projects are never realized for a myriad of reasons: there are three finalists proposals—one will be selected, the other two rejected; the selected project does not meet zoning or building code approval; the project funding gets rescinded, bond measure rejected, or grants never materialized; citizen groups take issue with the art form, materials, content, any list of items that prevent the work from being built.

Am I revisiting your last project nightmare?

So, where is that rejected project now?

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Should states be funding the arts?

Posted by Mike Latvis, May 04, 2010 1 comment

Last week I listened in on a radio interview on WNYC in New York that dove into whether or not states should be funding the arts. The interview featured Nina Ozlu-Tunceli, chief counsel of government and public affairs at Americans for the Arts, and Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of and

To listen to the full interview please click here -

While I’ll spare you all from my personal opinions on the interview, I will say that it sparked some interest about messaging. In the interview you hear Nina talk about the national economic impact, how grant dollars leverage increased investment, as well as how grant funding helps provide affordable access to the arts for citizens.

Nina did a great job of putting forth the national argument but, my question to all of you is: What is your argument in support of arts funding? If you were in an elevator with the chair of your state’s appropriations committee, what would you say?

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Begin as you mean to go on…

Posted by Joanna Chin, Apr 30, 2010 1 comment

In setting the tone and structure of my posts about the future of community arts, I want stress how important your thoughts are in fueling discussion by building off of Alie Wickham’s immediate response to the Future of Community Development in the Arts Green Paper, which said:

I’m responding to the line after this, “What do you think?” According to many of the “tips” I read in the paper, I believe many of them will continue to stay constant and true – their context will adapt according to the time we are living in. However, I feel it would be highly interesting to bring up the point that it wouldn’t hurt for each of us to help our prospective organizations to develop similar tips for each of our fields that we believe will stay MOST constant and true. Not only will these tips include long and short-term goals – something the green paper emphasized in one tip – but goals that will continue to stay true and relevant in the present and future. More than likely, these tips will develop from comparing there relevance to the past, as well.

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