Last night we hosted our first Creative Arts class in collaboration with Skillshare called Making Public Your Practice: Art & Community Organizing taughted by Chloe Bass of Arts in Bushwick. It was an intimate setting with five students including yours truly, not to mention it was a room of creatively minded ladies hailing from all parts of town from Greenpoint and Bed Stuy to LES and Portland even. We were public practitioners, artists, event producers, and non-profit art organization employees and Chloe made the best of a small classroom by engaging mostly in discussions and activities.
The foremost topic at hand was: What is Public Art? To the untrained eye we think about giant nameless sculptures in public spaces like that big black rotating cube on Astor Place and our sights rarely go to the point of wondering who, what, when, and how did this thing end up here?
Public Art can expand far beyond inactive permanent urban backdrops and can be experienced as a social practice, going beyond what’s available in physical space to a community of individuals whether they are the general public or a more specific audience. Public art can engage with the public through social interventions and can be either/neither geographically and demographically specific. There are multiple ways we can determine who the public is and how it is approached. Having such an open ended platform to work with is exciting and full of endless opportunities.
Each student took turns coming up with a public art project, which led to interesting conversations about individual identities, cultural & historical specificities like gender and racism, public vs. private engagement, and the dissemination of affordable art. We hope these projects that were thought up on a whim will actually come to fruition in the future as public art projects!
Stay tuned on our Skillshare page for a full program of classes in the new year.December 21, 2011