CEC Artslink presents Publicly Creative: A Public Art Workshop. Public art is a fast-growing discipline with many unexplored opportunities for artists and communities. This workshop is a hands-on intensive introduction to the field, outlining resources, logistics, opportunities, and examples of successful collaborations. Recognizing artistic initiative as a valuable asset and a catalyst for a dialogue and transformation, we will explore how site-specific collaborations in varied cultural, geographic and political areas can influence business, social awareness and economic development. Encouraging close inspection of the particular issues faced by a specific New York community chosen by the participants, the workshop and the resulting public art work(s) will provide a unique platform for the participants and the public to explore and appropriate the city’s landscapes.

April 27, 2011

Your last project?

I'd be interested in knowing what your last public art projects were.
In an "elevator speech" kind of description, mine was FACE, consisting of 30,000 paper napkins, ten different designs, each consisting of 2 different questions; napkin 6.6”h x 4”w; paper and ink. Commissioned to address a race bias event at Williams College, the questions for this project evolved through conversations with students, faculty and staff of color at the College. The napkins were distributed through dining halls and lounge areas in academic and administrative buildings. The goal was simply to foster conversation between people sharing coffee or a meal. (Example of questions on one napkin: Whatever your race, what does being white mean to you? and Whatever your race, when and where were you in the racial majority?)
Would love to see/hear what others of you last did!


  1. The last project I worked on was with the performance group I'm in, BabySkinGlove, where we created a mock-up of a New Age zen cult. We lived in a house for two days, all wearing similar robes and engaged people in various activities at our stations, leading visitors and guests through the house on a warped and terrifying path of enlightenment.

    Peggy, your project "FACE" sounds really interesting, I like the aspect of confrontation communicated through the delicate object of a napkin. Also, it seems like it was widely incorporated into the everyday lives of the students at Williams.
    Would you say that part of your project was connected to engaging the public through familiar elements, sparking unique and spontaneous dialogues as a result of the surprise of being prompted by such a commonplace thing as a napkin? What are everyone else's thoughts?

    By the way, I'm really looking forward to meeting all of you!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Anna; your thoughts are exactly what I was after. This sort of work, of course, remains largely invisible to me. When I finish a project shot out into public of this sort, it's only half done; the rest takes place in a "private" public, one that I'll never be privy to. I love and hate that.

    In your project, did any of your folks have any experience with Zen, New Age stuff, or cults? What did you want to have happen? How did your group decide on that idea? Who came, and what was their response? We can talk when we see each other.

  3. Peggy, your relationship to the "public" is very interesting. I will be glad to talk more about this concept in both of our projects. But to loosely answer one of your questions, the BabySkinGlove performance was aiming to provide a critical/satirical point of view on the obsession of Eastern spirituality in contemporary Western cultures. We usually aim to create an immersive experience for audience members, often leading to a certain level of discomfort with the spontaneity of "entering" a performance.

    Looking forward to talking with you and everyone else next week!