ABOUT THE PUBLIC ART SYMPOSIUM
In September, 2017, the London Arts Council and City of London hosted a public art symposium at Museum London. We invited artists and arts administrators to dive deep into some of public art’s biggest trends and issues, as well as offering practical skills-based training unique to each individual’s level of experience and role in the public art process. Over twenty professional artists contributed to the symposium's programming through many different disciplines, culinary arts, literature, multi-disciplinary arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.
Cath Brunner is Director Public Art for 4Culture. Bringing over 25 years of experience as a built environment innovator, she is a strong advocate for the economic, social and environmental benefits of public art. As part of an outstanding cultural development team at 4Culture, Cath creates meaningful opportunities for artists to affect public policy, stimulate public debate and conversation, influence public resource management and shape the design of the public realm. In addition to managing King County’s public art investments, 4Culture maintains a consulting practice with government agencies and private developers. Cath specializes in art planning and management of large-scale integrated projects such as Harborview Medical Center, Brightwater, terminal expansions at SeaTac Airport, and 2010 Olympics waterfront developments in Vancouver and Richmond, BC. She lectures on best practices and currently leads an online workshop Managing for Success in Public Art as part of UBC Continuing Studies in Cultural Planning and Development.
Amie Williams is a redhead rebel filmmaker with a passion for social justice. For the past 20 years, she has traveled the world documenting stories from the margins, inspired by legions of women, workers, activists, and young people dedicating their lives to social change. From AIDS orphans in Kenya, grandmother abalone divers in Japan, and maids in Las Vegas, she is constantly inspired by stories that not only move us, but move us to action. Her films have won some awards and been in top tier film festivals, broadcast on PBS, Al Jazeera, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting, Current TV, and Discovery. But she is most proud of the work she is now doing with GlobalGirl Media, a non-profit which empowers young women from under-served communities to develop and share their voice as citizen journalists. Through this work she has developed her first feature screenplay Journey of Winter and Summer, crafted from an encounter with a young woman in Tunisia who had the bravery and tenacity to share with Amie her incredible story.
Dr. Lorna Gonsalves' signature Creative Peaceful Resistance approach was developed through more than a decade's work with youth in Toledo, Ohio. CPR provides opportunities for urban youth to use public art and creative expression as a tool to make policy-makers aware of their challenges. This workshop will explore innovative strategies for enhancing social awareness and promoting civic engagement.
Speakers from across Canada and the United States joined the symposium to teach participants specific skills unique to their role and experience in the public art process:
Alexis Kane Speer and Anjuli Solanki from The STEPS Initiative explored how public art can transform a community through social engagement, inclusion, and revitalization.
Tricia Wasney, Manager-Public Art for the Winnipeg Arts Council, explored how administrators can challenge municipal perceptions of public art, build relationships, and incorporate public art into infrastructure projects and landscape design.
Christine Leu and Alan Webb drew on their experience creating more than 20 public artworks to lead emerging artists through the public art submission process, including writing a strong expression of interest, proposal, and budget.
Joy Jackson, professional risk manager, reviewed how to protect against risks associated with public art, including an overview of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, Fall Protection and insurance requirements.
In panel discussions, speakers asked attendees to consider how public art can make a difference in our communities. Our discussion topics included:
Creators of Art, about the lines between plagiarism/inspiration and the power dynamics of artist creation, moderated by Patrick Mahon (Western University) with panelists Jamelie Hassan (Artist, Writer & Curator), Amie Williams (GlobalGirl Media) and Vidya Natarajan (King's University College)
Policing Public Art, about balancing municipal policy with grassroots public art without stifling creativity, moderated by Cath Brunner (4Culture) with panelists James Kirkpatrick (Artist), Tricia Wasney (Winnipeg Arts Council) and Sean Martindale (Artist & Designer)
PRESENTING ARTIST HIGHLIGHTS
Poet Laureate Presents... Crossings
At our cocktail reception at The ARTS Project, symposium attendees enjoyed live jazz music and a special performance of Poet Laureate Presents... Crossings. Crossings was a showcase of collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts, curated by London Arts Council's Poet Laureate Tom Cull and The ARTS Project's Artist in Residence Angie Quick. Eight artists of different disciplines were paired to create four unique performances.
The Public Art City
Social artist Melanie Schambach asked symposium attendees to consider what societal issues have been occupying their mind. Creating collages, each attendee used art to explore creative solutions to these issues through public art. Check out some of the issues challenging us by clicking the images below.
What social issues have been occupying your mind?
how do we shift from creating awareness to sparking action? + let's stop looking at where we've been and look at where should we be going?
intergenerational trauma + foster care system + lack of respect between peoples + racism and prejudice + more help/info for mental health
binary political affiliation + left vs right + apathy
affordable housing and gentrification + homelessness + poverty + native housing solutions
flooding + food forests + urban planting and gardening + our connection to nature and green cities + water protection + climate change + biodiversity
lack of sense of belonging and connection + breaking stereotypes + integration + gender identity politics + heteronormativity + creative solutions for seniors
city biking + urban technology + green cities + parking + disconnect between creative communities and other social groups
We-Art: 150 Years of Public Art
Actor, director, and playwright Dan Ebbs challenged symposium attendees to create monuments of Canadian historical events, using only their bodies.
Live Music & Dance
Between sessions and during the lunch hour, attendees enjoyed live music and dance by local musicians. We also hosted a dinner and concert evening at Innovation Works, a co-working space for social innovators.
Local artists Tricia Edgar and Sheri Cowan turned conversations into artwork during our presentations and panel discussions.