Thursday, March 18, 2010

UrbanArt Update--March 2010

The newsletter makes it return this month after a winter hiatus during which artists have been busy working on new projects poised to make Memphis even more amazing with public art. A number of works will be completed this Spring, including Carol DeForest's extensive metal sculpture installation at the new auto inspection station, Deborah Brown's colorful tile mosaics at the new animal services center, and Mark and Meghan Davey's mural at Colonial Middle School. Other projects currently underway are Anthony Lee's at Pierotti Park, Tootsie Bell at Legends Park, Tim Upham at University Place, Brooke Foy at Bert Ferguson Park, Dale Crum at Fletcher Creek Park, Chris Fennell at the Overton Park Shell, Vinnie Bagwell at Chickasaw Heritage Park, Dennis Oppenheim for Walnut Grove Road at Shelby Farms, Evan Lewis and Carolyn Braaksma's individual projects at Beale Street Landing, Walter Kravitz for the new MATA south terminal, Josh Sarantitis at Central High School, and Cameron McNall and Damon Seely of Electroland for the Court Avenue pedestrian bridge.

What's more, there are 15 additional projects for which we are in the process of formatting calls-to-artists for a variety of clients throughout the Memphis metropolitan area. Look for these to be released in the coming months as well. Next on deck: Wolf River Greenway Phase 2&3, and 7 Neighborhood Gateways throughout every district of the city.

On the private side, we've got some great news to announce: UrbanArt has won an Innovation in the Arts Award from the First Tennessee Foundation for our Curious Pictures proposal to illuminate downtown Memphis with video art! We're so excited to be bringing this new media form of public art to Memphis! Mark your calendars for Saturday 22 May!

In our continuing effort to educate those interested in what UrbanArt's processes entail, we're starting our 'How It Works' series of articles with a detailed account of Selection Committees. These volunteer citizens are crucial in enabling public art that is relevant and compelling to be produced in the City of Memphis' 'Percent for Art' program, and here's your chance to learn how they work!

As always, thank you for your support of public art, and its ability to inform, provoke, inspire and gladden our spirits as we all work toward building a better Memphis for all of us.

Now, more than ever, your support makes all the difference.

Consider making a tax-deductible donation toward the production of public art in Memphis by visiting this PayPal link: Donate, or by sending your contribution to UrbanArt, 2549 Broad Ave., Memphis, TN 38112.

Be well,

John Weeden
Executive Director
UrbanArt Welcomes Rodney Coleman!
UrbanArt welcomes its newest colleague, Rodney Coleman!

A Mid-town Memphis native and graduate of Central High School, Rodney will be working with UrbanArt as a freelance project coordinator, bringing several years of project management experience to the role.

Rodney began his non-profit career during his studies at the University of Memphis. As a student of Professor David Acey, he was a key contributor during the early stages of the Africa in April Festival, and established processes and procedures, which lent to the great success it has become today.

He was one of the founders, and former president of the Hollywood-Chelsea Business Development Corporation, and has worked with other non-profit organizations such as MIFA, the Salvation Army, Memphis Junior Health Careers and Opportunities, and the American Red Cross.

Rodney loves the rich and diverse heritage of our community, and will strive to make Memphis an amazing place with public art and design!

UrbanArt Wins Innovation Award from First Tennessee Foundation!

Curious Pictures, a downtown-centric art installation supported by the Center City Commission, consists of projecting large-scale digital graphics and film vignettes onto 10 selected buildings of significance in Downtown Memphis. These multi-story moving illuminations will bring to life the cityscape and illustrate the possibilities and potential of public art. The project will transform downtown into a temporary interactive art installation where art, architecture and technology collide. The Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will assist, and Indie Memphis and Film Fuel, a branch of Launch Memphis, will serve as partners to demonstrate Memphis' rising film community.

Ten artists from Memphis and around the world will be featured for the night of Saturday 22 May. Artists and locations shall be announced prior to the night of the show. Due to equipment costs, UrbanArt is currently seeking additional private support in the form of donations to extend the exhibition beyond one night only.

Interested parties should contact:

How It Works: Selection Committees

[*NOTE: This is a description of how Selection Committees determine an artist for the City of Memphis' Percent-for-Art program, specifically. Other clients often stipulate different processes of artist selection not covered in this issue of the newsletter. It should be also noted that the details provided below are an abridged version of the entire set of guidelines regulating the program.]

Fun Facts: A typical Percent-for-Art program project in Memphis takes approximately 100 hours of coordination from concept to completion. Selection Committee members meet for an average of 10 hours over the course of 5 meetings to determine an artist for a Percent-for-Art project. Once the artist is selected, committee members meet to review the artists' progress at least 3 more times before completion. All committee members are volunteers.

Guidelines Governing Selection Committees for the Percent-for-Art Program:

1. The UrbanArt Commission (UAC) and City of Memphis convenes a Selection Committee for each project that has been approved by the Public Art Oversight Committee (PAOC).

Selection Committees consist of:

Architect Representatives
Visual Artists not eligible for the project
Arts Professionals (such as art professors from local colleges, etc.)
Community Representatives
Participating City Bureau Representatives
Facility Management Representatives

2. The Selection Committee meets and reviews submissions from artists, including digital images, resumes, and letters of interest. The panel discusses the submissions and selects two or more artists to interview.

3. The Selection Committee reconvenes to interview the artists. At the end of the meeting the panel discusses the interviews and selects a final artist for the project.

These are the steps taken by the Selection Committee during the design process:

1. The artist submits a schematic proposal to the selection committee. The schematic proposal consists of general information about what the artist will be doing: conceptual sketch, preliminary budget, etc. The committee reviews the schematic design and approves, provisionally approves, or rejects it. The committee will continue to meet until the design is satisfactory.

2. The artist submits the final design, which includes detailed drawings and other information. The committee reviews the final design and approves, provisionally approves, or denies it. The committee will continue to meet until the design is satisfactory.

Steps taken by the Selection Committee during the implementation of the project:

The UAC works with the artist during the implementation of the project. The Selection Committee may be asked to meet during this process if circumstances warrant. Upon completion of the project, UAC will contact committee members.

Public Art Oversight Committee (PAOC):

All decisions of the Selection Committee are to be reviewed and approved by the Public Art Oversight Committee. The PAOC is a committee of seven members that has been appointed by the UAC and the City Mayor with the approval of the City Council. The PAOC provides general oversight of the Percent-for-Art Program, including scope of art projects, artworks, and artists for the projects. They also serve as a board of appeals for any issues that arise in conjunction with the Percent-for-Art Program.


General Criteria:
Projects undertaken by artists or acquisitions of artwork whether by commission, purchase, gift, or other means should further the purpose and goals of the public art program. The PAOC will determine the appropriate recruitment strategy to establish a pool of artists for each project based on standard methods described above. The selection panel will apply the following criteria when selecting artists, considering acquisitions or siting artwork.

Artistic Merit:
The inherent quality and excellence of a proposed artwork together with the strength of the artist's concept and design capabilities are the program's highest priorities. Other artistic credentials to consider include training and critical or other professional recognition.

Artwork must be compatible in scale, material, form, and content with its surroundings. When serving a functional purpose, artworks may establish focal points; modify, enhance or define specific spaces; establish identity or address specific issues of civic design. Consideration should also be given to the architectural, historical, geographical and social/cultural context of the site or community, as well as the way people may interact with the artwork. They must be able to respond to the specific contextual issues and considerations of the particular project, its community and users.

Relevant Experience:
Experience and professional record of artist/s should provide convincing evidence of ability to successfully complete the project as proposed. Particularly on collaborative or design team projects artists should demonstrate ability to:
·    Communicate effectively and elicit the ideas of team members;
·    Exhibit flexibility and problem-solving skills;
·    Work with architectural drawings and construction documents;
·    Engage community representatives in a project.
·    Successfully manage all aspects of the project including budgets, committees, sub-contractors, installers and other construction and administrative logistics.

Due consideration will be given to the structural and surface soundness, operational costs and inherent resistance to theft, vandalism, weathering and excessive maintenance. Artist should include recommended method and schedule for maintenance.

Technical Feasibility:
An artist must exhibit a successful track record of construction and installation of artwork or show that an appropriate professional has examined the proposed artwork and confirmed feasibility of construction and installation.

An artist's proposal should provide a budget adequate to cover all costs for the design, fabrication, insurance, transportation, storage, and installation of the proposed artwork, plus, reasonable unforeseen circumstances. Artists should have a history of completing projects within budget. Artists should expect to garner 10-15% of the total project budget for their design fee and compensation, which is industry standard worldwide.

Fabrication and Installation Schedules:
The artist proposal should include a project timeline that incorporates design review, fabrication, delivery and installation in accordance with project schedule. The artist should have a history of completing projects on time.

The PAOC and selection committee may recommend rejection of all submissions if none are considered satisfactory and a new pool of artists may be established.


General Restrictions:
Artists or members of their immediate families who serve on the UrbanArt Commission Board of Directors or the Public Art Oversight Committee will not be commissioned or receive any direct financial benefit from the Public Art Program during their tenure on either of those bodies. This restriction shall extend for the period of one-year following the end of service and indefinitely for projects that were developed or acted upon during the artist's tenure on the Commission or Committee.

No artist may receive more than two art enhancement commissions under any five-year period. No artist may be selected for the moveable collection more than once during any five-year period.

Local Artist Participation Requirements:
One of the goals of the Public Art Program is to foster and celebrate the talents of local artists. Therefore, sixty percent (60%) of the artwork created with percent for art funds during any five-year period shall be accomplished by local artists. A local artist is defined by City of Memphis Ordinance 4934 as an artist who has lived or worked within the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area for five (5) or more years during such artist's career. [*As of December 2009, 84% of Percent for Art projects have been completed by local artists.]

Inappropriate Communication with Selection Committee:
The UAC staff shall be responsible for all correspondence and communication by and between artists applying for Percent for Art projects and members of selection committees. Discussion by and between any applicant artist and any member of a selection committees outside of regularly scheduled meetings for such purpose during the selection process may be grounds for the disqualification of the artist. Such determination shall be in the sole discretion of the PAOC.

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