This ambitious undertaking offers a remarkable opportunity to consolidate recent innovation in the public art field, and to set a standard for a new generation of approaches towards organizing art projects in the public realm.
We see this assignment as unique for several reasons. First, unlike most other public art master plans, this process will be focused on a place, rather than a project or program; consequently, it will be able to engage a wider range of artists, media, creative approaches, stakeholders and funders. Second, the plan must move beyond “dots on the map” — it must coalesce a cohesive vision and long-term priorities, while admitting the dynamic nature of the Corridor, the emergence of unexpected opportunities and the evolving interests of artists. Finally, the plan will guide not just a specific client but a diverse group of partners; it must create a framework that galvanizes their support and guides their involvement.
To meet this challenge, I have assembled a group of planners and artists who are critical thinkers, seasoned professionals and innovators. I have asked urban designer Todd Bressi and art planner Meridith McKinley, with whom I have worked in the past, to join me as full collaborators. We have also recruited the artist collaborative Rebar to join us as a way of using art as urban action to test and hone the goals of the plan. We also have been in conversation with two other collaboratives, Damon Rich (formerly Center for Urban Pedagogy) and Futurefarmers. Given the state of the corridor and the present economy, this approach will bring artistic energy to the Corridor even though it might not see major investment dollars in infrastructure and development for quite some time.
Our team has experience and depth and encompasses the generational and conceptual shift that public art is undergoing. We have the creative power to undertake a thorough investigation of the corridor as an emblematic twenty-first century urban place. We are sophisticated in our ability to facilitate discussions and foster partnerships between artists, arts organizations, public agencies and a community already activated over planning and development issues. We are technically proficient at all aspects of producing public art, managing programs and projects, and crafting the legal and economic tools of city planning and urban development. We have proven track record in large-scale government, institutional and public art planning, sculpture as infrastructure, event-driven action in the public realm, and hands-on production of public art. We know how to listen — and by listening we intend to give back something challenging and new.
Our team will work diligently with Public Art St. Paul to achieve the following outcomes:
• A long-range vision that is grounded in the essence of the place, recognizing that the Corridor will constantly evolve, reflecting new connections between Minneapolis and St. Paul, new relationships to nearby neighborhoods, and new understandings of how the Corridor relates to the world beyond.
• An operational framework for public-private partnerships, which will cultivate and implement projects related to economic growth, community building, and sustainable infrastructure, and sustain the support systems for the Corridor art initiative.
• Early action projects by artists that demonstrate how incremental projects can inspire creative artistic approaches, instigate civic dialogue, strengthen partnerships and build towards a long-term vision. We share your aspirations … for a process that is a creative and artistic as the outcomes, it is shaping …a long-term outlook that is grounded in this place and robust enough to provide direction … a framework flexible enough to respond to conditions, and admit ideas, that only the artists who come to work in this place can imagine. Our idea is that your plan will become not only a foundation of the Central Corridor’s future but also a model for a new kind of urban action.