Americans for the Arts honored 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2017 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects include three from Seattle’s Public Art Program.
The three projects that were recognized are:
Vessels by Nicole Kistler: Vessels are a series of cast iron sculptures that dot the community garden on Seattle Public Utilities property at Beacon Reservoir. Building on the inspiration of the reservoir as a container, they evoke puffball mushrooms holding spores, berries holding seeds, seed pods, and ceramic water jugs. The sculptures also hold stories from the community. Kistler interviewed Beacon Food Forest volunteers and neighbors over several summer months capturing food stories and traditions on audio and imbedded phrases into the permanent works. Commissioned with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds.
BorderLands: The first exhibition ARTS organized at King Street Station, BorderLands featured 2D- and 3D works from the City’s collection as well as site-specific installations. The exhibition, focusing on themes of belonging and resistance, was on view on the third floor of King Street Station.
Poetry on Buses, a collaboration with 4Culture and funded through Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds: Poetry on Buses invited King County residents to create, share, and experience poetry on public transit, online, and in community on the theme “Your Body of Water.”
Dating back to 1992, Poetry on Buses was reimagined in 2014 to foster relationships with immigrant and undeserved communities, featured multiple languages, and transformed the commute for culture—on bus and on smartphone. The 2017-18 program was multi-modal and featured poetry in nine languages. The theme for Poetry on Buses 2017, “Your Body of Water” was designed by Poetry Planner Jourdan Keith.
“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”
The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed on this page and were on display throughout the Annual Convention. Three independent public art experts—Bryan Lee, Jr., director of design at Colloqate Design in New Orleans; Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons in Los Angeles; and Denver artist Patrick Marold—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017. This is the 17th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 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 www.AmericansForTheArts.org.