I basically spent today talking. Which makes me wonder why I would want to continue to do so, although this is in the written form. I wanted to continue because I am pretty excited about what I was doing today and wanted to note some things down before I forget about them…
First, I spent the morning doing a talk on how to take your project to fruition when working in the public realm. It was part of the NYFA Fall Business of Art Conference called Taking it to the Streets: A Guide to Making Art in the Public, my talk was called DIY How I Made My Public Project Happen. Basically I walked people through a whole slew of things to think about when creating a public art project (especially if you don’t have a producer or presenting organization. Here is the short version of the slideshow…
Most of the topics I will go into more detail on the blog: http://www.diypublicart.org. I will also post the full version with narration on that site…
So what got me buzzed about that – well, I have to admit that I LOVE public speaking. I really do! I just get a buzz from it. I love talking about my work, or leading a discussion or whatever. I just really enjoy it. Someone asked me at the talk if I was an energetic public speaker prior to my project, and I don’t think I really had a chance to find out. But I certainly enjoy it now. So, if you want someone to come talk, lead a workshop whatever – let me know.
Image via Wikipedia
This afternoon I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel at the Pratt Institute ReIgnite Conference. The panel was on greening your practice and featured, Samuel Cochran, Ruth Shuman, Mark Smith & Myself. Each of the panelists brought really interesting work to the fore.
Sam (SMIT) has created beautiful modular solar & wind energy generating systems called “grow” and “ivy” his work was featured in the MoMA “Design & the Elastic Mind” show his project is an elegant solution and has great potential to transform the ways in which renewable energy is used in building design.
Ruth founded the program Publicolor which transforms drab public schools, community centers and even police precincts through the power of colorful painted spaces. She spoke about the fabulous power of color to transform our mindset within these spaces. The brightly colored schools actually had a measurable change in dropout & college-bound rates. It’s a beautifully simple and incredibly powerful project idea.
Mark is an industrial designer who took his expertise quite a lot further – he realised that design has the power to change lives. And not just through the design itself, but that the entire process of creating a new product had the power to impact. He relocated back to Alabama where he grew up and started DesignSeed (website on way). This enterprise incubator launches a new manufacturing company in a different region of the blackbelt (an extremely poor post-agriculture region of Alabama) every two years. DesignSeed identifies resources in a region (materials & people) and does in depth research on a community to determine what needs there are. The design phase involves coming up with a design that fits all of the requirements set forth in the research. There is a lot more to it, but that is some of the gist of it.
Someone in the audience asked the panel, given our community & environmental focus, if we had a chance to go back and change our education at Pratt, what would we do differently.
My response was that I wish there had been more involvement with communities in general and in the local neighborhood in particular. I would like to have studied working on art within a community.
And then I thought, well if I want that, maybe I should be the one to teach that.
And then I thought, wouldn’t it be great to teach art using Mark’s business model. A class would select a neighborhood, go and do research on issues which they deal with – social, environmental or other – research on their knowledge and interest and ideas for confronting these issues. Then the class would charette and come up with designs for art projects to occur in the community and then go through the process of developing & producing that project (permits, community board meetings, all of that stuff) and then create the project. It would be a semester or year long project commitment and would really get people involved in the process and the community. I think it would be a pretty amazing class.
So if you want to hire me to teach that class, I am open to that to.