Americans For The Arts

Green Public Art Lands on List of Top 50 Public Art Projects in US

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

601f373719f82d0dc8c6a93864b96067The artwork, Orit Haj by artist team Didier Hess (Project Manager, Rebecca Ansert of Green Public Art Consultancy), selected by a jury of arts professionals from over 350 submissions as one of the Top 50 most exemplary public art projects of 2012, was announced at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network conference in 2013.

The American for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review program recognizes exemplary and innovative, permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in the previous calendar year. It is the only national award that specifically recognizes public art projects. Three independent public art experts—John Carson, artist and Head of Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Art, Norie Sato, artist, and Justine Topfer, Project Manager, San Francisco Arts Commission and private curator—juried the 2013 Year in Review. Their selections were announced on June 13, 2013 at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in Pittsburgh. Over 350 projects were submitted for review and 50 final projects selected. For full list click here.

Orit Haj, a site-specific artwork at Vasquez Rocks Park in Acton-Agua Dulce, California is a tribute to the Native American culture of the Tatavium people from the Santa Clarita Valley. Designed by artist team Didier Hess (a Los Angeles based collaborative led by Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess) as a slow release time capsule. To construct the sculpture, the artist team invited the community to participate in a workshop series where they learned about the ancient architectural building material called rammed earth, which is a mixture of soil and cement compacted into forms to create a solid earthen structure. The community was invited to bring personal artifacts to insert into the earth as the workshop participants added the rammed layers. These artifacts will reveal themselves over time as the rammed earth slowly erodes. Deeply hidden within the form is a secretive bronze sculpture designed by the artists for a generation to discover in approximately 200 years.

The sculpture evokes the shape of the unique formations at Vasquez Rocks and is inviting to the human hand to touch it and visitors to climb on it. As people return to the Vasquez Rocks at various points in their lives, the sculpture, like the rocks, will be changing, their contours and the artifacts they contain altering in response to both human and natural forces.

Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Orit Haj is the County’s first “green” public art project and the Interpretive Center, designed by Gruen Associates, is Los Angeles County’s first Platinum LEED building.

To read more about the project follow these links:

USGBC LA Chapter Tours Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks Rammed Earth Workshop – photos

Vasquez Rocks Rammed Earth Workshop

 

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
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AFTA PAN Public EcoArt Webinar and upcoming Pre Conference Panel San Diego

Andrea Polli, Queensbridge proposal for alternative energy (NYC) 2005

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

On May 4th ecoartspace had the opportunity to participate in an online webinar through Americans for the Arts out of Washington D.C. For several years now their Public Art Program Manager, Liesel Fenner, who previously worked for the New England Foundation for the Arts in Boston where she developed a partnership between the NPS and the NEA called Art & Community Landscapes by inviting artists to participate in education and restoration of public lands, has been an advocate of ecological art. For the webinar, Fenner invited a group of ecological arts consultants and a public artist to the table to share valuable information with the public art community on Going Green: How to Align Public Art with Green Building and Infrastructure. During this 90-minute presentation some 37 participants from across the United States were able to access important information on a rapidly developing field of artistic practice.

The first presenter was Mary Jo Aagerstoun, President of EcoArt South Florida. In her talk, Public EcoArt Integration: Transforming Policy she outlined case studies and policy examples for integrating art that makes green technologies visible into the design and construction of green building as well as public infrastructure. Rebecca Ansert, Founder and Principal of Green Public Art in Los Angeles gave a comprehensive presentation entitled Green Building: Where Does The Art Fit In? to examine how public art can meet LEED certification points as well as materials usage. Emily Blumenfeld, who is currently based out of London, and formerly from St. Louis, Missouri where she co-founded Via Partnership, reviewed a Public Art Master Plan that she co-authored for the Environmental Protection Department for the City of Calgary, Canada, known as the Expressive Potential of Utility Infrastructure. And, to wrap up the webinar, public artist Mark Brest van Kempen from Oakland, California presented several projects in various forms of completion, exemplified from the artists perspective, the numerous ways in which art can transform public space from an ecological perspective.

Patricia Watts, founder and west coast curator of ecoartspace gave a short talk on the artist selection process, which included suggestions for extended deadlines on RFQs, workshops for ecological artists who are new to the public art process, suggestions for who to bring to the table when selecting artists including Environmental Services Department employees and local biologists/ecologists, as well as art curators who have worked with many of these artists in a museum context. Importantly it was impressed upon public arts administrators to be proactive in bringing these types of projects to fruition. Often it is the case that administrators do not see themselves as collaborators with the artist and for these types of projects it is imperative that as much information as possible be provided to the artist as early as possible to be able to identify a crucial point of integration in the planning and construction process. Administrators will need to think outside their job description to make these projects successful.

The Going Green Webinar will be available to the general public on demand through AFTA after June 1st for $35 per download HERE. There will also be a follow up Public Art Preconference workshop at the AFTA Annual Conference in San Diego on June 15th, entitled Green Infrastructure: Re/Generation—Environmental Art & Design: Now and How including presentations by Rebecca Ansert, public artist and administrator Vaughn Bell, landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck, and Patricia Watts of ecoartspace.

Listen in online or see you in San Diego in June!

Links to other pioneering Ecological Public Art Plans include:

 

ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.

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Report from Seattle Public Art Conference

ecoartspace participated in this year’s Americans for the Arts Public Art Network annual conference in Seattle (June 17-20, 2009), curating a Green Room workshop and also facilitating an afternoon roundtable session on selecting artists for “Green” public art projects. The theme of this year’s conference was Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities.

Approximately 80 people attended the morning Green Room session rotating through 5 tables in 3 half hour sessions covering most aspects of greening the arts including Communications, Operations, Programs, Facilities, and Public Art. Ian Garrett, Executive Director of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) and teacher of Sustainable Theater and Technology at CalArts (Valencia, CA), led the operations or office procedures sessions. Jennifer Orr, who is the green team leader for Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival, led the communications sessions. Michael Crowley, member of the Broadway Green Alliance in New York City led the facilities sessions along with one of the very first LEED attorney’s, Janet Kim Lin, with Bullivant Houser Bailey in Seattle. Michael wrote his award winning thesis in Arts Adminstration from Goucher College entitled Somewhere That’s Green: Environmental Stewardship in Performing Arts Organizations. Betsy Bostwick, Public art Manager for Clackamas County Arts Alliance and recent graduate of the Master’s program in Arts Administration from the University of Oregon (Eugene), led the public art sessions. Bostwick wrote her thesis on Going Green with Public Art and published an article for the Community Arts Network on Greening Public Art Policy in 2008. And, Patricia Watts with ecoartspace who led the programs sessions shared one of her most prolific exhibitions, Hybrid Fields, in terms of high community participation and engagement with a broad audience on issues of sustainability. This was a group show of artists addressing food issues both in the gallery and in the public sphere.

In the afternoon roundtable, a group of 20 artists and administrators discussed the artist selection process for LEED buildings and alternative transportation projects, led by artist and project manager Vaughn Bell with SDOT, Rebecca Ansert with the LA County Arts Commission, and again ecoartspace founder and west coast curator, Patricia Watts.

Overall the junior arts administrators (and some veteran administrators like Barbara Goldstein from San Jose who participated in the Green Room) were pleased that becoming sustainable was the thematic. And, being in Seattle we were surrounded by established public artists like Lorna Jordan, Buster Simpson, Dan Corson, and many others from the Pacific Northwest (Portland, OR) who have been creating sustainable artworks for years! However, the general feeling by most public artists was a real concern that if arts administrators are interested in greening everything from the selection process to what materials are being used to create works, that the focus is being taken off of the art. Many artists feel there are already so many limitations to doing public art that if they have to work in this theme or only use recycled materials, that they are not really creating ART. This is obviously debatable.

As of recent, funding has become stalled on many public art projects nationwide and everyone is sitting/waiting for stimulus funding to feed public art projects through transportation and water infrastructure projects. Public art programs that have already established an interest and built relationships with Environmental Services departments are poised to do some interesting projects in the coming years. A few exciting highly anticipated examples are the San Jose Water Pollution Control Plant, Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Facility, and the City of Ventura’s Harbor Wetland’s Project. And, in Canada, A Public Art Plan for the Expressive Potential of Utility Infrastructure.

In summary, it appears the time for public art that addresses environmental issues has finally arrived and artists who have been doing ecological art or sustainable art will have a better leg to stand on when applying for these more integrated and functional projects. Let’s keep our finger’s crossed. And, give special thanks to artists like Buster Simpson who won this year’s Public Art Award and who paved the way for all of us.

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