Jack Becker and FORECAST Public Artworks
2007 Honoree - Public Art Network Award
Jack Becker is founder and executive director of the 29-year-old nonprofit FORECAST Public Artworks. Mary Abbe, art critic for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, declared Becker the “state’s ablest arts tactician.” He is recognized regionally and nationally as a leader in the public art field.
In 1976, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, with a focus on sculpture and intermedia. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1954, he also studied there at Washington University and Webster University, where he acted and directed for the theater. In 1974, he attended the Croydon College of Art and Design in Great Britain, where he focused on sculpture and mixed media installations. In 1977, he was hired as the Gallery Director for City Art Productions, a one-year, CETA-funded program of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Minneapolis Arts Commission.
His 29-year history with FORECAST includes dozens of partnerships with arts organizations, educational institutions, government agencies, and foundations. In 1989, he established two annual programs for FORECAST: Public Art Affairs, a state-wide grant program for emerging artists and the national journal Public Art Review, for which Becker serves as editor. In 1994, FORECAST established Public Art Services, providing consulting, facilitation, and a wide range of other services pertaining to arts development, public art planning, programming, and commissioning.
Becker previously served as Art in Public Places program coordinator for the City of Minneapolis, Arts Development Manager for the City of St. Paul, and instructor at the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul. He has taught subjects ranging from business for fine artists to issues in contemporary art. He has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Public Art Saint Paul, Handpapermaking Magazine, the Minnesota Craft Council, and the Council of the Public Art Network, a program of Americans for the Arts. He has lectured extensively throughout the U.S., served as a member for several selection panels, conducted workshops for artists and communities, and hosted Twin Cities tours for groups seeking greater exposure to public art throughout the Twin Cities. His writings have been widely published, including the Utne Reader, the Boston Globe, the online journal CAN, in the book Conservation and Maintenance of Contemporary Public Art, a 2004 Monograph, Public Art: An Essential Component of Creating Communities, and You Are Here: Exploring Art in the Suburbs.