2018 PAN Year in Review Trends and Themes: Participatory and Performative

Annually, the Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review recognizes outstanding public art projects that represent the most compelling work for the year from across the country and beyond. The projects are selected and presented by a jury of three professionals who represent different aspects of the public art field, including artists, administrators, and other public art allies. New this year, the PAN Advisory Council curated the selected 49 selected projects for 2018 under five unique themes to broaden the exposure of the selected works on ARTSblog and social media, and to provide context to the works through national trends and themes that are impacting the field today.

Over the past decade, performative and participatory public artworks have gained in popularity with commissioning agencies and the communities they serve. Typically, public art is seen as a long-term, integrated, stationary, visual arts-based artwork. Performative and participatory projects allow for a new type of public art that that include multiple sensory experiences and a different way of engaging community where a whole community may be considered an artist. Performative and participatory public art projects create music, encourage touch, and utilize participation to be fully realized as a completed art piece. Of the 2018 selected PAN Year in Review projects, 15 uniquely expanded the definitions of artist, medium, and material. These performative and participatory projects are redefining both the commissioning process and what is expected of a finalized public artwork. 

Read More

Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018: An In-Depth Look at Perceptions and Attitudes About the Arts in America

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Sep 27, 2018

In a society struggling to find equity and social justice, Americans believe the arts improve the quality of our communities. How do we know? We asked. Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018 is the second in a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Americans for the Arts. One of the largest ever conducted, it gauges the public perspective on (1) personal engagement in the arts as audience and creator, (2) support for arts education and government arts funding, (3) opinions on the personal and well-being benefits that come from engaging in the arts, and (4) how those personal benefits extend to the community. Here are some findings of the survey. 

Read More

Of Safe Havens and Wide Awakeness: Arts Educators as Agents of Transformation

Posted by Dr. Rhoda Bernard, Oct 03, 2018

This is the second year that I have taught a freshman course at Berklee College of Music about Neurodiversity. Over the 15-week semester, we examine topics and issues in neurodiversity and their relationship to the arts. We start by talking about the origin of the term “neurodiversity,” and we go on to consider issues of language, power, and representation as they relate to individuals with disabilities. We work with scholarly writings in disability studies and the arts to better understand and question the rhetorical frames at play in various cultural contexts when it comes to artists with disabilities. Every time I teach this course, I am struck by the openness with which these freshmen—brand new to Berklee, just getting to know each other, only recently living on their own—share their personal experiences and challenges. The respect and kindness that they show their classmates helps us all to create a safe space for learning and vulnerability for every student.

Read More

Spark a Creative Conversation During National Arts & Humanities Month

Posted by Cristyn Johnson, Oct 04, 2018

Happy National Arts and Humanities Month! Each October, millions of people across the country celebrate the transformative power of the arts in their communities. National Arts and Humanities Month is a “coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America,” with the goals of: FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels; ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts; ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives. During National Arts and Humanities Month, some truly amazing celebrations of arts and culture take place across the country. One of the big initiatives for the month is Creative Conversations, which gather community leaders to “discuss local arts, culture, and creativity to generate partnerships and increased energy around the grassroots movement to elevate the arts in America.” 

Read More

Can public art be used equitably?

Posted by Mickey Northcutt, Nov 21, 2018

The benefits of public art are plentiful: inspiration, engagement, revitalization, economic development, beauty. Public art has all too often been directly associated with the displacement of families and individuals when used as an economic development tool in historically low-income communities without proper protections in place against displacement. With a well-thought-out anti-displacement strategy in place, public art can be transformative for historically low-income neighborhoods everywhere. The Punto Urban Art Museum, a public art initiative founded by North Shore Community Development Corporation in Salem, Massachusetts, is addressing this head on as we enter a third year of programming. After seeing increased levels of engagement when utilizing arts and creativity in our community organizing work and in a temporary pilot mural project, NSCDC began to take art and placemaking more seriously as a strategy to address the community priority of reducing stigma in the predominantly low-income, majority-minority Point neighborhood.

Read More

Cultivating Fertile Ground for Art & Artists in Planning Agencies

Posted by Mrs. Jennifer Erickson, Jan 24, 2019

January 2019 marks two years since I launched the Arts & Culture practice at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), an independent state agency serving the 101 cities and towns in Metropolitan Boston. MAPC has an entrepreneurial and innovative culture for a government agency, and our Arts & Culture practice was conceived and operates in that spirit. We deliver technical assistance in cultural planning, creative placemaking, creative community development, arts and cultural data collection and analysis, and cultural policy. And we have an Artist in Residence who serves MAPC as an agency and works with some of the cities and towns we serve. It has been quite a ride! The impetus for our launch came from two sources: a desire to implement the arts and cultural priorities in our agency’s MetroFuture regional plan, and my dogged determination since entry into the urban planning field in 2009 to do place-based social justice work that engages arts, culture, and creativity at the core.

Read More