Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Artists wanted for public art

Attend a talk on applying for public art projects


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Historical Museum was a public art project done by valley artist Ralph Harris. Photo by David N. Seelig

Interested in creating work for permanent public exhibition, but don't know how? Attend the free workshop "How to Apply for a Public Art Project." Mark Johnstone, regional arts advisor for the Idaho Commission on the Arts, will give the presentation on Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Hailey City Hall. It is sponsored by the Wood River Arts Alliance.

"Most people in the area have never done this before, and the process is new to them," Johnstone said. "I will talk about how to prepare a strong application, how projects are selected and what to expect if you get awarded a commission."

Johnstone has been involved in public art since 1987, when he was exhibitions curator and vice president for Security Pacific Bank at its headquarters in Los Angeles. He was administrator of the public art program for Los Angeles in the late 1990s and is chairman of the Hailey Arts Commission.

"Most artists are used to working in their studios by themselves, and it's a solitary process until they exhibit their work and interact with a gallery and the public," Johnstone said. "A public art project involves working with others, members of a team, architects and city personnel. Artists need to know how to collaborate."

Murals, such as Ralph Harris' on the side of the Blaine County Historical Museum, are the most identifiable public art projects. Other projects in Idaho have included Allison Sky's "River Sculpture," a mixed-media piece in front of the Grove Hotel in Boise.

"Hailey is planning to commission a mural for City Hall and welcoming art work for the fringes of the city," Johnstone said. "It's not just a talk. I will have PowerPoint presentations and handouts for everyone."

Johnstone said the city of Hailey anticipates making a call for artists to all Blaine County residents, which includes anyone from Carey to Stanley.

"Experienced artists should not be scared off by the process," Johnstone said. "The talk is meant to explain the process and invite artists to participate."

For details, call 578-7720.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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