Mr. Chin to Receive Award at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in San Antonio

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, announced today that it is presenting the 2012 Public Art Network Award to conceptual visual artist Mel Chin. The Public Art Network Award honors innovative contributions to, and exemplary commitment and leadership in, public art. Mr. Chin will receive his award on June 7 at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in San Antonio.

"Mel Chin has helped define contemporary and conceptual public art in America," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “He is an accomplished artist and an exemplary leader in community arts. His innovation and dedication has been recognized regionally and nationally in the public art field.”

“Sometimes, the survival of my own idea may not be as important as a condition I might create for others’ ideas to be realized,” said Chin.

Mel Chin is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Motivated largely by political, cultural and social circumstances, he works in a variety of art media to calculate meaning in modern life. Recognized world-wide for continually representing new ways of approaching the public with art and the art world with issues beyond itself, Chin has been forging and in some cases, foraging new definitions of art throughout his career in terms of public participation and engagement with a variety of diverse communities that address global issues.

His work can be viewed in a variety of different locales, including landscapes, public spaces and gallery and museum exhibitions. It was documented in the popular PBS program, Art of the 21st Century. Two of his most notable works, Operation Paydirt and the Fundred Project, are an example of Chin’s work that has engaged communities across the country raising awareness and ultimately mitigating lead contaminated soils in New Orleans. Hundreds of schoolchildren nationally have participated in creating ‘Fundreds’ combining arts education and environmental awareness.

The Public Art Network, a program of Americans for the Arts, is designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. PAN’s membership includes public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at


Catherine Brandt