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ARTS wins National Award for artwork dedicated to Black innovation and joy

A public art exhibition from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) received national recognition from Americans for the Arts Public Art Network’s 2017 Year in Review. Year in Review highlights the most successful, innovative, and exciting public art projects and programs in the United States. The award-winning project was Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk: A Quantum Leap, Starting From The Top…!!! an immersive installation by artist Xenobia Bailey.

This year the Public Art Network received 325 entries from public art programs and artists. A total of 49 projects were selected for recognition. ARTS has received recognition for previous projects in past years. The art works selected for the Public Art Network Year in Review can be seen here. The Year in Review selections were presented at the national conference in San Francisco, CA in June. In addition local artist Buster Simpson and Cath Brunner, Director of 4Culture’s Public Art program also received recognition from the Public Art Network.

“These selected works reflect the incredible diversity of public art projects, including temporary to permanent, sculpture to performance art,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “The innovation of work demonstrated in the Public Art Network Year in Review shows the breadth of talent from artists around the country. I congratulate them and their commissioning groups for these community treasures.”

Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk: A Quantum Leap, Starting From The Top…!!! was an installation in the Seattle Presents Gallery. It was part of Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice, a year-long series exploring artists’ and curators’ interpretations of racial injustice, both systemic and institutional, impacting Black-identifying people throughout America. In her installation Bailey created an immersive installation featuring African-American homemakers and caregivers that honored and celebrated their innovative, soulful lifestyle. The installation referenced connections to the African-American community and Seattle’s history. The life-sized figures play an important role in cultivating and rebuilding homes and communities, while providing nurturing and guidance for African-American youth. According to Bailey the installation was created as “an exploration for a future of designing and engineering a humane material culture and cyber cottage industry that will address community needs relating to wellness and social and economic development.”

The Public Art Network is a program of Americans for the Arts, designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. The network’s constituents are public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals, and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, it has a record of more than 40 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in, and appreciate all forms of the Arts. Additional information is available at