Tag Archives: Public Art

Don’t be afraid of Ethnicity

Don’t be afraid of public artwork that strongly demonstrates its origination in  ethnic visual traditions.  Murals can be show people from different backgrounds or painted in the art traditions of non-western cultures.  Why can’t public sculptures be bronze castings of African masks.  Why can’t ceramic murals clearly originate in the traditions of Spanish or Moroccan wall and floor tiles?

In the 19th and 20th century, the dominant art establishment and intellectuals believed that progress and newness in art came exclusively from the artistic inventions in Europe and then the Americas.  Still today, despite the great respect in museums and universities for all traditions in art, the vast majority of public art is dominated by euro-american art.

One major flaw of public art thinking is that works from other cultural traditions should only be seen in the neighborhoods of those ethnic communities.  It is sometimes known as “race matching”.   Art about or by African Americans should be seen in African American neighborhoods, not in the center of downtown.

Given the 150 years of public art in the USA and Florida, some catching up may be required in African American, Caribbean, Mexican and South American neighborhoods.  Pride in community through public art is still a valuable service.

In the 21st century, many mature and talented artists exist from any cultural or ethnic backgrounds.  Many ethnic traditions have been continued by contemporary artists and craftspersons.  Perhaps ethnic and cultural diversity in a public art collection is the true new future.

Advertisements

Honoring Ann Norton with New Sculpture

Norton SculptureIn March 2012 three years ago, the AiPP Committee endorsed the idea constructing in brick an Ann Norton sculpture as major significant public artwork in West Palm Beach.   Only thru the fence at the Norton Sculpture Garden can you see parts of her sculptures.

In 2014, the AiPP Committee and City Commission “unreserved” the funds for the project on Okeechobee as rendered below.  During the master plan process, they would re-examine the project that would include other locations and different scales.   Now is that time.

photo_3 NortonA&Edrawing

More information on Ann Norton on this blog, click here.  Also information of an program idea to purchase works by long-time WPB artist, click here.

Ann Norton in Cambridge, Mass.
Ann Norton in Cambridge, Mass.

Public Art Survey Results

For IBI Group, consulting art researcher Surale Phillips completed the public art survey for the master plan in February.  689 people completed the online public art survey for the City of West Palm Beach.   Phillips used the result from the 406 people who self-declared themselves residents of West Palm Beach,  but the results are nearly the same with employees and visitors included.

Pleas view the slideshow that was presented at the March, 2015, Art in Public Places Committee meeting.   Please remember that the survey is not “scientific” as people volunteered for the survey and in this case, 90% really enjoy art.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From the survey, we constructed a draft mission statement and goals related to expressed priorities.

The Art in Public Places program should beautify the city through timeless, beautiful and meaningful sculptures, gardens and murals in parks, downtown, waterfront and entrances to the city.

The future artworks should inspire creativity, bring delight to everyday spaces, support local artists, promote pride, attract and entertain tourists to our city, and reflect the city’s many cultures and lifestyles.

When appropriate, the art should be fun and colorful and  artists should improve blank walls, vacant lots and plazas

Slide9

 

Slide10

 

The survey both reflects and deviates from national opinions.  Parks, downtowns and entrances are frequently preferred locations and beauty the goal.  The lack of interest for artworks in neighborhoods or that reinforce neighborhood identity is unusual.  Vacant lots, blank walls and supporting local artists are higher than normal.

Generally, people understand public art as sculptures, murals and functional artworks, but gardens are higher than normal.   Street art, changing art and interactive artwork are newer ideas that have support.

Slide11

The public art surveys produces some challenges to the program.

1.  Work that is beautiful and meaningful, but not traditional modern art nor representational art.

2.  Work that is excellent, innovative and attracts tourists, but not necessarily made by artists of international renown.

3.  Work made by local artists from a range cultural backgrounds, but without a priority to benefit local neighborhoods.

Idea for Developers: Sustainability and Public Art

zöld8Artists across the world are contributing ideas and works of art to help make our built environment more sustainable.  In south Florida, improvements to reduce electrical use in building and smart uses of rain water are particularly important.  Most art projects are equal parts reality and poetry to remind the public about the need to change and a symbol to tenants or buyers about the environmental concerns of the owner.

Generate Electricity:  Wind Turbines

Design for Miami (Unbuilt)
Design for Miami (Unbuilt)
Hilton turbines, Fort Lauderdale
Hilton wind turbines, Fort Lauderdale
Wind Turbine in park in Fort Lauderdale,
Wind Turbine in park in Fort Lauderdale,
Colorful turbines
Colorful turbines

Clean the Air and Cool Building:  Green Facades

40815422

foundation-for-polish-science-f251114-6-520x347

Miami Beach
Miami Beach

Generate Electricity:  Solar Collectors

Solar flower, Dallas, TX by Harries and Heder
Solar flower, Dallas, TX by Harries and Heder
Solar flower, Dallas, TX by Harries and Heder
Solar flower, Dallas, TX by Harries and Heder
Solar panel clad, floating duck
Solar panel clad, floating duck

Designed Wetlands and Water Retention

Seattle water retention by Lorna Jordan
Seattle water retention by Lorna Jordan
Broward water retention by Harries and Heder
Broward water retention by Harries and Heder

Wetlands Style Water Feature

Michael_Singer_Seminole_Sculptural_Biofiltration_Wall
Michael_Singer_Seminole_Sculptural_Biofiltration_Wall

flow-form-2

Roof Water Reuse

Water collection sculpture by Buster Simpson
Water collection sculpture by Buster Simpson
Water collection sculpture by Buster Simpson
Water collection sculpture by Buster Simpson
Michael_Singer_Seminole_Sculptural_Biofiltration_Wall_7
Michael_Singer_Seminole_Sculptural_Biofiltration_Wall in Coconut Creek, Fl

Reuse Rain Water

Buster Simpson downtown spouts
Buster Simpson downtown spouts
Stacy Levy downspouts
Stacy Levy downspouts

 

 

Idea for Developers: Health and Public Art

As lack of basic exercise has contributed to a decline in American health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trust  and others have funded research and programs to increase healthy living in the cities.  Active Living by Design and Health Impact Project are programs looking at urban design, building design and urban policies that encourage exercise.    Many of Knight Foundation “Cities Challenge” and “Art Challenge” grants results in more activity use of the city.

These ideas match with the desires of new residents and employee to activate downtowns.    Instead of only the gym, the new generation enjoys using the public spaces of the city for walking, biking, jogging, dancing and games.   Below are public art projects that developers might consider to expand physical (and social) activity around the site and building.

Urban Swings:  Boston and Montreal

Montreal Musical Swings
Montreal Musical Swings
Montreal Musical Swings
Montreal Musical Swings
Lawn D, Boston
Lawn D, Boston

Encourage Walking on Stairs

Olafur Eliasson, Germany 2004
Olafur Eliasson, Germany 2004
San Francisco Stairs
San Francisco Stairs
Circulate by Erik Carlson, Nashville
Circulate by Erik Carlson, Nashville
Circulate
Circulate by Erik Carlson, Nashville

 

Watch/Listen to the Video of Piano Stairs in Sweden

Piano Stairs in Sweden
Piano Stairs in Sweden

Encourage Walking/ Jogging with Markers

Walk/Jog markers at Inglewood Forum by Michael Massenburg
Walk/Jog markers at Inglewood Forum by Michael Massenburg
Winged Figure Walk/Job Markers in Tampa by Michele Oka Doner
Winged Figure Walk/Job Markers in Tampa by Michele Oka Doner

Encourage Biking with Cool Looking Bike Racks

Bike Rack
Bike Rack
Bike Rack, Salt Lake City
Bike Rack, Salt Lake City
Bike Rack
Bike Rack
Bike Rack in Berlin
Bike Rack in Berlin

Outdoor Games

Larry Kirkland, Story Garden, Oregon
Larry Kirkland, Story Garden, Oregon
Ping Pong
Ping Pong
Ping Pong by artist Lee Wen
Ping Pong by artist Lee Wen

Places for Organized Activities

 

Basic Training Plaza, San Francisco
Basic Training Plaza, San Francisco
Golf and Dancing
Golf and Dancing

The Integration of New Technologies

Watch the Video of the Roar of the Crowd.

Perform to the Roar of the Crowds, Times Square, by Adam Frank
Perform to the Roar of the Crowds, Times Square, by Adam Frank

You Must do It Once Project

Pathway by RO-AD Architecten in France
Pathway by RO-AD Architecten in France

 

 

Idea: Move Henry Rolfs Sculpture

Henry Rolfs Statue

In 1994, the City of West Palm agreed with the family of Henry Rolfs, Sr. to honor his contribution to the City with a sculpture in the median of Okeechobee Blvd.    Artist Marsha Montoya Meyer made the statue that  welcomes visitors to West Palm at the intersection of Tamarind/Parker and Okeechobee.

Mr. Rolfs and his partner David Paladino were responsible for consolidating all the 77 acres that eventually became City Place, the Kravis Center and the Convention Center.  Without their visionary purchases, it is very unlikely that City Place would exist.   Unfortunately for Rolfs and Paladino, the economic downturns of the late 1980s and early 1990s ruined their opportunity to complete their vision and the land was acquired by the City.

Land Purchased by Rolfs and Paladino
Land Purchased by Rolfs and Paladino

In our community discussions on public art, we learned that most people don’t know anything about the sculpture.  If they have  thought about it, then most assume it is second memorial to Henry Flagler.  Part of the reason for the lack of knowledge is that sculpture is undersized for the site and almost no pedestrians cross at this location to learn about Mr. Rolfs.

Henry Rolfs, Sr. by Marsha Montoya Meyer
Henry Rolfs, Sr. by Marsha Montoya Meyer

Given the contribution of Mr. Rolfs, the sculpture seems better located near or in City Place.  Pedestrian could enjoy the artwork and read information about Mr. Rolfs’ life and activities in West Palm.

What do you think?  Should the sculpture be moved or remain in place?

rolfs9d
Existing and Possible New Locations
rolfs1
Current Location
rolfs5
Rosemary and Okeechobee

 

 

 

Idea: Honors Program Public Art Purchases

In every city, county and state, artwork by some of the long time resident artists with exceptional careers not been purchase for the public art collection.  These artists are the artistic foundation of the community and deserve to be celebrated and remembered long into the future.

Some of these artists work in durable materials suitable for public art, but many are painters, printmakers, photographers, filmmakers, digital artists, etc.  Others like ceramic artists may never have worked a large scale.   But with today’s many fabrication techniques, their artworks can be transformed into the public works.

An “Honors Public Art Program” would select a living or deceased artist each year to purchase/commission and display her/his artwork in public space or buildings.  In City Hall, a permanent board would recognize the artists commissioned in the program.

We might have missed someone, but Jeff Halverson and Mark Fuller might be the only West Palm Beach residents in the collection.    Marsha Montoya lives in Palm Beach and Michael Singer in Delray Beach.  Privately owned works by WPB artists Luis MontoyaJane Manus and Ann Norton are on public display outside.   Ralfonso has sculpture in an office lobby.  Mural exist by Leslie DavidsonCraig McInnis, Eduardo Mendieta and Amanda Valdez.

For example, a similar program was operated in Seattle in the 1980s & 1990s.   Below are two examples of public artworks by prominent resident painters:  Jacob Lawrence and Michael Spafford.  Lawrence is porcelain enamel and Spafford is concrete panels.

Michael Spafford, Tumbling Figures, Seattle
Michael Spafford, Tumbling Figures, Seattle
Jacob Lawrence, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
Jacob Lawrence, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle

The artwork of Bruce Helander, inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2014, is used for the header.

 

Idea: Troll for Under the Bridge

Fremont TrollTwice in  our community dialogues, West Palm Beach residents reminded the groups of the 2009 idea by former Mayor Lois Frankel to commission a troll sculpture under the Royal Palm Bridge.   Idiosyncratic projects like a troll can be very popular.  Many of the famous sculptures, such as the Statue of Liberty, were considered very strange until the sculptures earned a positive reputation.

Aurora Bridge, Seattle
Aurora Bridge, Seattle

The most famous troll is in Seattle under the Aurora Bridge.  The Fremont Troll was created by Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter & Ross Whitehead in 1990.

Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle
Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle
Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle
Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle

Of course other trolls exist…………………..

Kim Graham Artist
Kim Graham Artist
Troll in Denmark
Troll in Denmark
Giant under the lawn in Budapest
Giant under the lawn in Budapest
Apennine Colossus, Italy
Apennine Colossus, Italy – Not a troll, but great inspiration.
Royal Palm Bridge
Royal Palm Bridge
Royal Palm Bridge
Royal Palm Bridge

 

Comment:   Love the idea of a mythical creature under the bridge, but don’t find a troll particularly appropriate to West Palm Beach. Both Denmark, and Seattle have misty woodlands, environments that might be imagined habitats to trolls. Perhaps if the community decides to have something under the bridge, a giant sea dragon, the old man of the sea,Neptune, a wistful seated mermaid, and a merman emerging from the water, or some such might be good options.

Perhaps you could have a contest to get residents involved in what it should be.
Best,
Suzi K Edwards

 

Idea for Private Developer: Art on Building Tops

Chrysler Building, NYC
Chrysler Building, NYC

The Art in Public Art ordinance requires that most new buildings hire public artists to incorporate artworks into the building or site design.  So we will look at the successful artworks in the architecture and landscape.    In addition to the plazas and landscapes, key typical places include the tops or roofs, the entries and lobbies, the parking garage walls,  the second floors and blank walls.   The goals is find artistic work that enhance the value of the development for the owner and contribute to the energy and artistic reputation of the city.

The Building Tops

Residents and visitors to every city enjoy “looking up” when there is something there.  Rather just a flat roof or a simple pyramid, a sculptural form or digital lighting patterns can distinguish the building and the larger cityscape vista.  The artworks can be smoothly integrated or a surprising addition.

Divers England
Divers England

If you don’t see the slide show, click here to see artist-made tops.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Does the city need something up high?

WPB Skyline, Photo Credit Palm Beach Post
WPB Skyline, Photo Credit Palm Beach Post

Development Idea: Parking Garage Public Art

In the design of high density office or residential towers, frequently a parking garage fills the 2nd to 5th floors.  The garage lives above the retail storefronts and and below the offices or apartments.    Over the last 20 years, public art have been called into service to enliven the walls with huge artworks designed to let the fresh air enter the garage.

101 Eola, Orlando, Florida
101 Eola, Orlando, Florida
Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane, Australia

Other garages for developments are freestanding.  The first image by artist Ned Kahn moves in the wind, sending patterns across the surface.

Target Field by Ned Kahn
Target Field by Ned Kahn
San Jose Garage by Christian Moeller
San Jose Garage by Christian Moeller
Bank Headquarters Garage, Cincinnati by Julian Stanczak
Bank Headquarters Garage, Cincinnati by Julian Stanczak
Santa Monica Civic Center
Santa Monica Civic Center

santa monica civic center

santa monica civic center
santa monica civic center
Miami Beach
Miami Beach
Related Development by Gary Moore
Related Development in Opa Locka by Gary Moore

Instead of the walls to let the air flow, the structural walls or stairs become places for artistic action.

Orlando Garage by Marcos Cruz
Orlando Garage by Marcos Cruz
Garage-Kansas City Library
Garage-Kansas City Library
Santa Monica Garage
Santa Monica Garage
Garage Wall by Fairey
Garage Wall by Fairey