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.

May 16, 2011

WTC- Welcome to My Neighborhood

Artist: Janet Goldner
Location: Spots where visitors can see the WTC construction site
Status: Work in progress, research stage

1st test run interviewing visitors to the WTC site for a couple of hours was on Sunday.

It was a damp foggy day. Nina was with me. We circumnavigated the site, looking for places where people congregate to look at the site. Mostly we were in the World Financial Center.

We encountered Americans as well as Germans, Dutch people, Israelis.

It was easy to have casual conversations with visitors but recording either audio or taking photos with the people didn't seem possible.For one Dutch man it was his third visit to the site. He had been up in the towers many years ago and had visited the site a year and a half ago. He was happy to see so much activity on the site.

He spoke of his shock on 9/11 and how he works in the Hague near the American Embassy. He used to walk by the embassy regularly and greeted the Marine guard on his way. After 9/11, the guard was behind glass and now the embassy is being moved out of center city into the suburbs.

We encountered a large group touring NYC before a cruise that leaves for the Bahamas tomorrow. An older couple in the group from St Louis had been to NYC once before in their 20's.

Another Dutch woman said "We started your city."

Visitors seem to look at the site and reflect on the enormity of the event.

The Winter Garden is open and noisy. Other spaces are more quiet and contemplative.

Some people thought the construction was moving along slowly and others thought it was further along than they had expected.

People wanted to ask me about living in the neighborhood. Was I home? Was my house damaged?

I need to distinguish what I’m doing from the many tours that are offered. The guides give facts about the sit and the towers. There were 50,000 people who worked there each day. They talk about knowing people who died. Or where they were that day. But the visitors weren't asked about their experiences and thoughts.

If I had more official status with a table or a booth perhaps I could record the interviews and visitors could leave their reactions as written statements or drawings.

In the meantime, I can continue to have casual conversations with visitors to my neighborhood.

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