metro

Public Art

Feature: Sarah Lindgren

Sarah Lindgren

Sarah Lindgren

Raising The Ante On Public Art

Sarah Lindgren is a government employee, which makes her, almost by definition, a bureaucrat - a terrible word with little positive association. Yet, as Public Art Administrator at Louisville Metro Government, she is the top authority on public art in the city, a job description that sounds anything but monotonous.

In conversation, Lindgren speaks of the issues surrounding public art with detail and confidence, but she also effectively illustrates the complexity of the topic. With substantial experience in museum administration with The Speed in Louisville and the St. Louis Art Museum, she clearly has the bona fides for the job.

Public Art Administrator is a job that never existed before 2014, a creation of the long in development Louisville Public Art Master, which in turn gave birth to COPA, the Commission On Public Art. Part of Lindgren’s role is to, in effect, head up COPA. But what does a commission on public art do exactly?

“COPA was established to advocate for all of the recommendations in the Master Plan, which included a position for Public Art Administrator,” explains Lindgren. “My job is to help artists and arts organizations navigate their way through the bureaucracy of public art. What permits are needed? What is required to site artwork in the right-of-way?”

So COPA is an advisory body making recommendations to Mayor Greg Fischer and the Metro Government on such questions as how to adequately archive and maintain the rich history of public art in the city. How much does the general public know about the significance of sculptures that have been a part of the fabric of the city for generations? How often do you drive past the Daniel Boone statue at the entrance to Cherokee Park with any thought to the fact that it was created by one of the most important women sculptors in the United States, Louisville-born Enid Yandell (1869-1934), who studied with Auguste Rodin? How many of us know with assurance where to find all of the Barney Bright statues in the city? Or works by Ed Hamilton?

That archive was one of the first tasks implemented from the Master Plan, with the help of Kristin Gilbert, Lindgren and photographer Luke Seward, who took fresh pictures of many of the pieces. But there also is a need to build consistent public policy towards public art, both old and new.

Beneath the Surface by Mary Carothers. Part of the 2015 Connect/Disconnect: A Public Art Experience.

Beneath the Surface by Mary Carothers. Part of the 2015 Connect/Disconnect: A Public Art Experience.

COPA is what Lindgren calls “a nexus for various areas of expertise to come together to address public art policy.” In some instances, city and state government might cross paths, and if the topic involves an institution such as the University of Louisville, the paths between action and accountability can be difficult to chart. “We also work with city departments and overlay review committees. Depending on the project, it can be a lot of moving parts.”

Most cities have requirements in place for new construction that demand developers include initiatives public space and/or public art, and so does Louisville. “We have a unique formula in the Land Development Code,” explains Lindgren, “which stipulates outdoor amenities or focal points be included in building plans for large-scale developments, or the developer can choose a fee in lieu of the amenity or focal point which goes into a restricted fund for public art.” The result is the establishment of a funding opportunity that will be offered in the next fiscal year, a grant application for funding new public art. The size and availability of this opportunity will, of course, vary depending upon the volume of new construction each year and developers that opt for the fee-in-lieu to support public art. “The fee-in-lieu option was added to the Code in 2010, but the recession slowed down construction. By 2016 with an increase in new development projects, there is also an increase in this type of funding for public art.”

The funding opportunity is just the latest initiative that Lindgren has brought to the Metro Government’s renewed attention to public art. In 2015 she managed Connect/Disconnect: A Public Art Experience, the inaugural project of COPA and Louisville Metro Government’s Public Art, which featured outdoor installations by five artists – Simparch, Jean Shin, Mark Reigelman, Jenny Kindler, and Louisville artist Mary Carothers. The pieces were only in place for a few months, but several have received national recognition. Other projects in various stages of development include:

River Monument (glomus) by SIMPARCH (Steven Badgett and Matt Lynch). Photo from Develop Louisville.

River Monument (glomus) by SIMPARCH (Steven Badgett and Matt Lynch). Photo from Develop Louisville.

The Louisville Knot

A project to install public art and lighting features to enhance the Ninth Street underpass, it is being developed in coordination with the Louisville Downtown Partnership. A multi-disciplinary team led by Interface Studio Architects (ISA), based in Philadelphia, and includes Shine Contracting, Louisville; Core Design, Louisville; Element Design, with offices in Lexington and Louisville; and LAM Partners, Cambridge, MA, would seek to turn the area under the 9th Street I-64 ramps into “an engaging and enticing public space tied together by local influences and traditions, providing a destination for exploration, commerce, and play.”

Love In The Street

An initiative by local poet and artist Lance Newman to curate a selection of poems by local poets and stamp them in a newly laid concrete sidewalk on 4th Street, between Chestnut and Broadway. The poems are intended to be love letters to the city. The project has a target completion date in spring 2018.

"Opportunity Portal" by Don Lawler & Meg White. Photo courtesy Meg White.

"Opportunity Portal" by Don Lawler & Meg White. Photo courtesy Meg White.

Bike Sense Louisville

Bike Sense Louisville is a public art project designed by Todd C. Smith. By providing sensor units to 100 Louisville cyclists (Citizen Cyclist Volunteers), data will be translated into helpful maps online as well as drive a public sound composition on the pedestrian Big Four Bridge. The resulting dataset will be open to the public and used by the city at the project's end to help in developing further improvements in bike infrastructure and planning.

Marquis Marie de Lafayette by Jean-Antoine Houdon (after). Photo by Michael Popp

Marquis Marie de Lafayette by Jean-Antoine Houdon (after). Photo by Michael Popp

It’s fair to observe that the creation of a Public Art Administrator position and the formulation of COPA represent a renewed focus on arts and culture that accompanied Greg Fisher into office, so given the shifting political landscape that characterize America in the last few years, how long can Louisville expect an arts professional such as Lindgren to have a seat at the public policy table?

“Well, my job is as vulnerable as any to a change in administration, but COPA is a public commission without salaries or budget of any kind – members are appointed by the Mayor and serve as volunteers, so it would be difficult to imagine why any new administration would not see their value.”

The recommendations are not limited to the benefit of the current administration or the city of Louisville but also extend to the uncertainty and lack of protections for individual artists. “As an artist, you deserve to work under a proper contract, to be paid appropriately and on time, and, when necessary, to have liability insurance in your project budget provided by your client. I want Louisville to raise the ante in advocating and implementing for best practices creating art in public spaces.”

Public Art Database: http://louisvilleky.pastperfectonline.com/
Explore Public Art: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-art/explore-public-art


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Fiber, Painting, Mixed Media

Vignette: Denise Furnish

"Gain/Loss (detail)" by Denise Furnish, 31x31in, yoyo quilt patch, archival ink on cotton, acrylic, $900 |  BUY NOW

"Gain/Loss (detail)" by Denise Furnish, 31x31in, yoyo quilt patch, archival ink on cotton, acrylic, $900 | BUY NOW


“I was asked, ‘What is a quilt?’ It is a question that, at first, seems obvious, but the answer goes much deeper than a hand-made bedcovering. The process of defining a quilt is the essence of my art. The quilt is a sign of women’s work. The making of a quilt implies a chain of signification through conception, use, deterioration, and, in my case, transformation.” — from Denise Furnish’s Artist Statement


"  Gold Star" by Denise Furnish,   77.5x76in, discarded lone star quilt, acrylic, $3200 |  BUY NOW

"Gold Star" by Denise Furnish, 77.5x76in, discarded lone star quilt, acrylic, $3200 | BUY NOW

In the history of Modern Art, or the still-being-written chronicle of Contemporary Art, the quilt can still seem like an outlier, despite several generations of fiber artists using it as the foundation of their work. Yet the very associations that might lie at the heart of perceived limitations – namely its functional role as comforting family heirloom, are also the source of the quilt’s unique power in communicating themes and ideas. Denise Furnish exploits these attributes but also subverts them by using discarded quilts as a vehicle for painting.

"Bed" by  Robert Rauschenberg  75.25x31.5x8in, oil and pencil on pillow, quilt, and sheet on wood supports (1955) © 2017 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

"Bed" by Robert Rauschenberg 75.25x31.5x8in, oil and pencil on pillow, quilt, and sheet on wood supports (1955) © 2017 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

“The quilt as a sign for bed interests me, yet I nearly always remove quilts from the bed and put them on the wall. For his collage, “Bed”, Robert Rauschenberg took a quilt from a bed and destroyed it to make art in 1955. The difference is that I am interested in taking already damaged quilts and transforming them into art. I later realized that seeing that work in the Museum of Modern Art in 1968 has influenced me.”

The inherent qualities of each quilt are crucial in the conceptual nature of Furnish’s approach, informing her thoughts and application of medium, but there is also a sense of rejuvenation emanating from the transformation of a tattered, worse-for-wear object becoming a wholly new creative action.  

“My work developed as a chain of signification beginning with the recognition of quilt as a sign of pre-feminist ‘women’s work.’ This work was created and executed with attention to design and purpose. It was used, washed, worn. Often, it was separated from its maker. It was found by me and painted–a sign not only of transformation, but also of post-feminist women’s achievement.”

Denise Furnish’s work is currently featured in the Louisville Visual Art exhibit, Tessile Ora, on display at Louisville’s Metro Hall through May 26, 2017.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA, University of Kentucky, 1972; Attended Louisville School of Art 1980-1981; BFA University of Louisville, 2008; MA University of Louisville, 2009
Website: http://www.denisefurnish.com

"Red Basketweave" by Denise Furnish, 56x37in, worn and discarded flower basket crib quilt, acrylic, $1200 |  BUY NOW

"Red Basketweave" by Denise Furnish, 56x37in, worn and discarded flower basket crib quilt, acrylic, $1200 | BUY NOW

"  Flower Garden Boogie Woogie" by Denise Furnish, 48x53in, worn and discarded flower basket crib quilt, acrylic,telephone wire, tablecloth, $1200 |  BUY NOW

"Flower Garden Boogie Woogie" by Denise Furnish, 48x53in, worn and discarded flower basket crib quilt, acrylic,telephone wire, tablecloth, $1200 | BUY NOW

"Lavender Log Cabin" by Denise Furnish, 40x28in, discarded log cabin crib quilt top, acrylic, $900|  BUY

"Lavender Log Cabin" by Denise Furnish, 40x28in, discarded log cabin crib quilt top, acrylic, $900| BUY

"FIreball" by Denise Furnish, 43x29in, discarded fireball crib quilt, acrylic, $1200|  BUY NOW

"FIreball" by Denise Furnish, 43x29in, discarded fireball crib quilt, acrylic, $1200| BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserve d.

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Painting, Public Art

Feature: Murals Reflect A Spirit Of Collaboration

Karl Otta   at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

Karl Otta at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

All artists begin with a blank space - a page, a canvas, a block of stone. A wall is, in theory, no different: an open invitation to fill a space with creative design and expression. Yet perhaps it takes a little more vision to imagine filling the side of a building with something that is not a billboard. Instead of presenting the public with a commercial advertisement, why not something that captures the flavor of the neighborhood and inspires community engagement? 

Braylyn Resko Stewart puts the finishing touches on his MAPPED OUT mural.

Braylyn Resko Stewart puts the finishing touches on his MAPPED OUT mural.

Murals exist around Louisville; created by individual artists and often sponsored by community organizations and neighborhood groups, but these efforts, however laudable, are, by and large, disparate projects occurring without synchronicity. They are positive in their impact and done with the best of intentions, but what if these earnest initiatives could be expanded, and given infrastructure to support the desire?

In answer to those questions, Louisville Visual Art (LVA), in partnership with the Center for Neighborhoods, has launched MAP (Mural Art Program) a long-term, sustainable public art program that engages local businesses, professional artists, Louisville Metro, and the greater Louisville community in the creation of large-scale murals to celebrate our city's unique identity and enhance civic pride.

The collaboration was functionally born out of a mural project in Hikes Point in which CFN had engaged with artist Liz Richter to plan and execute a design on a lengthy expanse of wall on the Big Lots building at 3938 Taylorsville Road. In developing her proposal, Richter reached out to LVA’s Director of Education and Outreach, Jackie Pallesen. “That was in late Fall 2015,” remembers Pallesen. “Liz knew community outreach would be important. And she knew we had a lot of experience with that.”

Liz Richter details her Hikes Point Mural and the process behind the project.

That element of Richter’s proposal resonated strongly with CFN Director Tom Stephens, and after she was selected, the communication continued with LVA after both organizations found themselves crossing paths on the hunt for funding. Although CFN had an initiative for public art, P.A.I.N.T. (Producing Art In Neighborhoods Together), it still saw the use and value of collaborating with LVA. “We could have perhaps figured out the answers to some of he questions ourselves, but why not go to the experts instead?” explains Stephens.

Liz Richter working on the public mural at MAPPED OUT.

Liz Richter working on the public mural at MAPPED OUT.

Such a comment points to the shared elements of each organization’s mission, the need to empower diverse community voices while enhancing Louisville's public spaces through the visual arts, and how natural it is to pool resources to better accomplish that goal. Partnerships such as this are essential and becoming more and more common because they make sense. 

The Hikes Point project came about not long after the LVA education team’s research and development for MAP, which had included visiting neighboring cities and meeting with their counterparts in other organizations such as LexArts in Lexington and ArtsWave in Cincinnati. 

Synchronicity was also a factor in providing a first, official salvo in launching MAP, when Ashley Trommler of strADegy Advertising approached LVA with an original design for a mural, called “Flourish.” Trommler had been touring the city looking for just the right location for her inspirational message when she spied a large wall on LVA’s Portland location that felt perfect. 

Mural designed by Ashley Trommler and executed by Ashley Brossart & Alyx McClain. Located at Louisville Visual building in Portland (Louisville, KY).

Mural designed by Ashley Trommler and executed by Ashley Brossart & Alyx McClain. Located at Louisville Visual building in Portland (Louisville, KY).

The newly installed "Flourish" mural was painted by Louisville artists Ashley Brossart and Alyx McClain, and unveiled on July 28. "Flourish embodies the spirit of collaboration between LVA, Center for Neighborhoods and Louisville Metro. Having this mural on our building signifies our commitment to making Portland a creative hub for our city. MAP will create opportunities for local artists and business owners to enhance community engagement and development," said LVA Executive Director Lindy Casebier. 

Mo McKnight Howe, owner of Revelry Boutique Gallery and Board Member for LVA and the Fund for the Arts, worked with LVA’s education team on developing MAP, and organized a kick-off fundraiser at the Garage Bar on August 19 that featured live painting by artists, Karl Otto, Pat Stephenson, Alyx McClain, Ashley Brossart, Braylyn Resko Stewart, Vinnie Kochert, and Liz Richter, with the 8’ x 8’ panels being auctioned on-line during the event. Says How, “Art has a great affect in transitioning neighborhoods. Louisville needs more murals and MAP is the answer to this need.”

Vinnie Kochert at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

Vinnie Kochert at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

Artists at work on the mural at MAPPED OUT.

Artists at work on the mural at MAPPED OUT.


keith.jpg

This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Photos by Sarah Katherine Davis. Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.