Art Panel

OFF THE GRID: Recharging Public Art + Design

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

OFF THE GRID: Recharging Public Art + Design, a full-day symposium hosted by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program, will feature an intimate look at existing and future public art and design in the Seaholm District, a former industrial section of southwest downtown Austin that is undergoing a transformation into a vibrant urban neighborhood. A uniquely Austin adaptive reuse project, the Seaholm District serves as a model for sustainable urban revitalization nationwide. Panel speakers include Jana McCann, McCann Adams Studio; Greg Kiloh, Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, City of Austin; and John Rosato, Southwest Strategies Group.

In addition to the Seaholm District presentation, the symposium will feature:

  • Interactive building game and presentation by Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop
  • Exploration of sustainable materials in public art with Rebecca Ansert of Green Public Art
  • Panel discussion about the integration of art in urban agriculture with Randy Jewart, Austin Green Art; Jake Stewart, Sustainable Urban Agriculture, City of Austin; and Jessie Temple, Festival Beach Community Garden
  • Networking opportunities with breakfast and lunch provided by Ecstatic Cuisine
  • Resource materials from event presenters and information on upcoming AIPP opportunities

The symposium will take place from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant located at the terminus of West Street at 3rd Street. Check-in and breakfast begin at 8:30 am. REGISTER BY OCTOBER 5 at SPACE IS LIMITED! Admission is $20 (includes breakfast and lunch). Parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

The Art in Public Places Program is partnering with the Solid Waste Services Department and the Austin Convention Center to make this a zero waste event. Participants are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, silverware and dishware to aid in reducing waste. Please note that there will not be facilities to clean reusable items on site.

AFTERWARDS: The symposium will be followed by an interactive workshop sponsored by the Downtown Austin Alliance and conducted by Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop and Austin AIA members. The Old Bakery Block Idea-a-Thon will be held in and around the Old Bakery Building on the west side of Congress Avenue, between 10th and 11th streets from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Symposium attendees are encouraged to participate. For more information, visit:

NOTE: Both the symposium and the Idea-a-Thon are held in conjunction with Austin x Design, a month-long community celebration of design in Austin. To find more events, visit: or

Questions? Contact Carrie Brown, Art in Public Places Coordinator, at 512-974-9310 or Visit AIPP at


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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Report from CAA 2009, Los Angeles

This was my fourth College Art Association conference over a ten year period. My first being in Los Angeles in 1999. Not only did I attend that year because I lived in LA at the time, I was also interested to attend a studio session entitled Off the Mainstream, Into The Mainstream. The session included three chairs and nine artists presenting the state of environmental art from the 1990s, including mostly artists from California. This was the panel that set me on course to participate in an ecoart dialogue listerve online for the last ten years.

Ten years later, CAA 2009, was once again in LA, although this time there were several panels that crossed over into the realm of science or ecology including:
Proof: Art Illuminating Science with artists Lillian Ball and Aviva Rahmani; Green Foundations: Curricular and Environmental Sustainability with Linda Weintraub; Place Markers: Artists, Technology, and Landscape; The Ecological Imagination: From Land Art to BioArt; and Land Use in Contemporary Art, Part I & II.

Since I lived in Los Angeles for more than twenty years, I decided this CAA to propose a paper for the Land Art panel to present examples of artists working outdoors in Southern California from 1999-2008. I focused on work that was least invasive and noted a progression of a land ethic by artists who were in the following exhibitions: Malibu Art Ranch 1997; SaFARi at the Old LA Zoo 1998; Escondido Phoenix 1999; Newtown Trail Markers 2001; Earthworks NOW Biennial 2003/5; HDTS 2001-2008; and MOISTURE 2001-2008. Other panelists included Kimberly Paice from University of Cincinnati who gave a talk “On Wheat” that mostly focused on Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield: A Confrontation. She also presented Dennis Oppenheim’s’ field work “Cancelled Crop” and “Directed Seeding” both from 1969. Chris Taylor, co-creator of Land Arts of the American West, a program operating from Texas and University of New Mexico, presented a visual diary of a caravan road trip he took with students to cultural sites and earth/land art sites in the desert Southwest over a two month period in one semester. They create ephemeral work on the land and return to the campus to create work for a gallery exhibition. Ann Wolfe with the Nevada Museum of Art gave a paper on Chris Drury and his Mushroom work they recently comissioned him to do. The Museum sponsored the Art+Environment conference in Reno last fall where Ann also gave a presentation. Her emphasis was that the Museum in Reno is the first of its kind to make Art+Environment its curatorial thematic. She also announced that the Director of the program, William Fox, has begun to create an archive of ephemera related to projects created in and near Nevada in the desert (Heizer/deMaria).

Land Art is a term that mostly refers to a movement from the 1970s, large-scale or monumental earth art, meant to be seen from far away. You often hear this term from Europe, particularly from the UK, to describe earth art, smaller works in the landscape, even ephemeral. However, after this panel, I believe there was some consensus that Land Art is a historical term referring to work created in the desert Southwest and does not define the type of work being done today. Panel Chair Kirsten Swenson referred to this new work as a Land-based Art Practice. And, from there, the medium is the message. As we know, there is still plop art happening (even at High Desert Test Sites). And, much of the art that is created outdoors is simply using nature as a gallery or cheap studio space. The real trick is to work with the land but not impact it, thus the title of my talk
Land Ethics:Post Land Art. Some better examples of this would include audio tour projects like Invisible 5 & Jack Rabbit Homestead by Kim Stringfellow, or more urban/rural dialogic/relational mapping/tour projects like Fallen Fruit or LA Urban Rangers.

Or, how about Bruce Nauman’s proposal for a sky writing in 1969 entitled “Leave the Land Alone.” This is a work I only found out about in the inaugural issue of Mammut magazine (Fall 2008), in an article with the same title written by Andrew Bernardini. He stated that this was Nauman’s response written in a letter to a gallery who invited him to participate in an earth art exhibition. The work was never realized and the letter has not been found. This sounds like a perfect project for the Center for Land Use (CLUI) to execute with Nauman, in the clear blue skies of Nevada?


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