Milwaukee Central Business District Public Art & Design Study and Demonstration Project
Led team including assistant Nancy Aten and artist Jill Sebastian to create a public art overlay for the Pedestrian Corridor Study 2002 by Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM). The Public Art and Design Study addressed integrating artwork into the streetscapes of three downtown corridors: Wisconsin Avenue, North Water Street and West Kilbourn Avenue.
Inventory and analysis identified five Major Transition Points, two Minor Transition Points, and five Nodes. While SOM had designed a repeating “kit of parts” for the streetscape, the public art takes substantially different forms and expresses different content from place to place, enabling customization and the creation of new landmarks.
I organized and managed a city staff working group including public works and planning personnel and an advisory committee convened by the Business Improvement District.
To test the concepts in the Study, I conducted focus groups and a two-day workshop with local artists and designers and city staff at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
The Study included a demonstration project that I defined and implemented leading to an award-winning public artwork, Pedestrian Drama, 2011, by Janet Zweig. Custom kiosks with flip-card motion pictures are attached to five light standards on East Wisconsin Avenue near Major Transition Point 5 leading up to the plaza for the Milwaukee Art Museum. You'll not want to miss Pedestrian Drama; see it in action here
Public Art Administration and Project Management, Wisconsin Arts Board and Minnesota State Arts Board
Clients: State departments of administration, transportation, natural resources, corrections, health and social services, military affairs and state colleges and universities.
For seventeen years, I directed programs commissioning public art for state buildings under laws requiring that at least one-percent of a building’s construction budget be set aside for art. As a member of the first cohort of state-level public art administrators, I helped establish standards for the profession.
Public art administration positions require intricate leadership and management skills to work with artists, architects, planners, landscape architects, engineers, bureaucrats, attorneys, the public, and the media. I developed policy and procedures, chaired committees based at the building sites, and served as project manager and go-between assisting artists during artwork design through construction and installation on state properties.
On the technical side, I was a contract author knowledgeable in artist’s rights and copyright laws, budget analyst and manager, registrar and technical writer. I represented the program on local and national stages and with local media. I also produced documentary photography and archival records for installed projects.
I administered up to 18 public art projects per year with annual budgets in excess of $1,000,000; over 135 total including major multi-year construction projects for the Minnesota Judicial Center and the Minnesota History Center. Also supervised program assistants, interns and volunteers.