Five Tuesdays this spring, I pulled out my homework and focused on public art during “Making It Public.” Offered by the New England Foundation for the Arts and facilitated by Forecast Public Art, it gave more than 120 artists and 9 Massachusetts municipalities the time and resources to consider opportunities for public art in their practice and in their communities.
The Zoom Break Out Rooms highlighted the wide range of artists participating. While the webinar format showed pages of faces (all participants were encouraged to show themselves present – a black box meant you needed a private moment or weren’t actively following the session), I loved meeting four to six artists and hearing about their perspectives.
My work and travels around New England helped me already understand how the creative force beats loud and strong here. But sharing a virtual space with a wide breadth of artists interested in the same topic was special. My Instagram feed now pops with wonderful creative vibes.
The course began by exploring the meaning and purpose of public art. Then, we created our own statement as a public artist, which could be revisited during the homework assignments each week.
Forecast brought artists who work throughout the country in public spaces. Each shared their work and advice. It wasn’t just inspiration, videos and images. It was equal part discussion of budgets, insurance, grant writing and reporting.
I’ve been interested in public art and place making for five years now. I’ve been lucky enough to mix yarn bombing and events with a textile exhibit, bringing stories and shedding light on Melrose in 1898. My experience in grant writing, sponsorship, marketing and event management bring very useful skill sets to public art. Why not contribute more to this beat?
Remember that I said there were nine municipalities also learning about public art? Well, each of them will have a call for artists coming out in the next year. You can bet I’ll be there.
If you are an artist, consider putting yourself out there for public art opportunities in Massachusetts!
Or, reach out to me and let’s see if we can’t collaborate.
So, who am I as a public artist?
- A community connector, creating participatory events and installations
- A fiber artist
- Based in the Wampanoag lands in southeastern Massachusetts.
To me, public art fosters an inclusive democracy.
Those Tuesdays are over, but this is just the beginning.