Another artwork that comes to mind is by street artist JR and his Inside Out Project. where posters with portraits of the people living and working inside of a building were posted on its exterior, opening up the interior and making the inhabitants part of the street and public life.
Does your approach to a public commission differ from the approach you take to other work, such as for private clients, exhibitions, galleries, or targeted audiences? If so, how? If not, why not?
Working on public commissions means first and foremost working with the everyday life of communities. Such work creates an active dialogue between the artwork and public life, and allows reflection on how and why public space can be used. Working on public commissions also allows— to a greater extent— meaningful collaborations with other professionals who can help understand the social context and help set the artwork into a meaningful dialogue with the community. Likewise, it allows having collaborations with local activists and citizens, making it a more inclusive process. It is in public commissions that the catalytic power of art for social change emerges. Public art has the potential of making a more significant impact as it also addresses audiences that do not visit exhibitions or galleries.
Why do you feel that public art is important to communities?
Public art has the potential to start a dialogue, to initiate shared activity and to inspire. It addresses social issues where they are, rather than from a detached stance in an art context. This makes it accessible and inclusive, widening its reach and activating its social potential. It also allows the renegotiation of public space. Public artworks can facilitate new actions in a social context that one already knows and uses by habit.
This invites the community to reflect upon how they share and use space. Thus, public artworks initiate the exploration of possibilities of shared space and trigger new dialogues and encounters.
Should your proposal be chosen as the winning artwork, how do you envision the Gary community would be involved in bringing the work to fruition?
Public engagement is at the core of the proposal. [The proposal] invites the public to have a seat and share a moment together. Forming the group Gary's vision, who will use [the proposal] to facilitate meaningful events and dialogue, will further stimulate public engagement.
Steel has been chosen as the main material for the installation because it bears a special role and meaning in the history of Gary. The design team will aim at engaging local steel workers as consultants for the production of the sculptural façade enhancement.
This engagement will facilitate a practical and emotional connection between Gary's local knowledge as a proud steel city and Gary's future resource as a thriving cultural and innovative community. Furthermore, this involvement will foster an inclusion of different audiences for Arthouse Gary.