Celebrating African-Americans through Public Art

Celebrating African-Americans through Public Art

A project of the Public Art & Cultural Commission | inaugural public art, community-informed project will honor THE BLOCK

   


PROJECT SNAPSHOT + WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW 

Local Artists Selected | Sep 4, 2019 

For immediate release

The City of Asheville is pleased to announce that local artists Phyllis Utley, as the literary artists, and Joseph Pearson, as the mural artist, have been selected to engage in this community-informed public art project. Alongside Art Ecologie and with project management + support provided by Artists Designing Evolution (adé PROJECT), local artists will provide needed leadership, guidance and engagement of the inclusion of authentic memory, legacy, and images that represent THE BLOCK. The work that was formerly known as the Visiting Artist Project has been rebranded as Celebrating African Americans Through Public Art (CAAPA), and through this process the stated goal to honor THE BLOCK will be met with celebration, collaboration, and creativity. 

Program background

In 2018, the City of Asheville’s Public Art and Cultural Commission announced the creation of the  Visiting Artist Program. The 2018 partnership is funded by the City’s Percent for Public Art Policy, sponsored by the Public Art and Cultural Commission, and being guided by a local leadership team of artists, arts and culture educators, activists, and promoters.  

Celebrating African Americans Through Public Art is the recently rebranded Visiting Artist Project. The project focuses on the goal to enhance underserved communities and  address needs in the city’s public art collection by setting into motion a mission to create public art that emphasizes public input.

For more information

For more information on this project, or with questions, please contact Project Manager, Cortina Caldwell at connect@theadeproject.org. For general questions about the City of Asheville’s public art program, email Steph Monson Dahl of the Economic Development Department at sdahl@ashevillenc.gov

Find a copy of this press release on Asheville City Source.


ARTISTIC SELECTION INFORMED BY COMMUNITY INPUT

During the call for artists, the City of Asheville, Public Art & Cultural Commission and the jury team used the public feedback surveys to help make the final design proposal, artist and site selections.

 

Meet the Artists

Visiting Artists // Art Ecologie Collective 

ADAPT. DESIGN. CREATE. The Art Ecologie Collective is: Francisco Gonzalez  • Flavia Lovatelli • Monique Luck. The Art Ecologie Collective will create a collaborative community experience exploring the history of the African American community in Asheville, NC’s BLOCK. The collaborative artworks will be incorporated into a celebratory multi dimensional public art installation. For more info on their work, please visit: http://artecologiecollective.com 

 

 

Local Artist // Mural // Joseph Pearson

“I am human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me.”———-Terence

The majority of my 40 years as a professional artist has been devoted to addressing social/political issues, especially as it relates to Black folks. My interest in social/political issues is informed by my early experiences coming of age during the Viet Nam War and the Civil Rights era. I am interested is telling the story of the “Everyman”. I believe in the power of art to influence  change and build communities.

For more info on his work, please visit: www.josephart.net

 

 

Local Artist // Literary // Phyllis Utley 

I believe in Living Art. Poetry in Motion. Everyday Free Flow. I am from a Descendant of a People rooted in Life is Art. It cannot be fully captured. It is beyond that limitation. It’s who we are and how we live. In this side of Eternity I help people Re-Member, Re-Frame, Re-Construct. The world is our stage – at home, at school, at play, at work. Everyday we create. We re-create who we really are. I see you. I see you see me. I see you see me seeing you. I see you and me. I see us. For more info on her work, please find her on Facebook or out in community! 

Contributing Mixed Media Artists // 

Stephens-Lee Summer Camp youth + counselors | Dr. Dwight Mullen | Dr. Dolly Mullen | Cleaster Cotton | Tarah Singh | Youth Artists Empowered | Mrs. Shirley Whitesides | Joy Maat | Melody Henry | Liz Williams | Kamya Jackson | Maria Watkins | J. Michael Haithcock | Gloria Estrada | Brenda Estrada | Evie Thomas | Roy Harris

 

INSTALLATION SITES

    

Corner of Biltmore & Eagle                                                  Corner of Eagle & College 

 

Much of the community discussion during the July 2018 site visit centered around where the artwork should be sited.  The leadership team settled on three proposed sites for a permanent installation, and ultimately the decision was made to have the sites proximate to THE BLOCK, a historic African-American corridor that runs near the intersection of Eagle & Market Streets. These sites connect with other developments and arts and culture projects, and will be highly accessible to the public. Documentation of the project will also be available to the public, so even if it’s not a permanent installation, we’ll insure it is connected to the community and highly accessible to the public.


TIMELINE + HISTORY


2019

  • Jan 1 – March 22 – Community Leadership team is formed.
  • March 22 – May 1 – Community Call for Project Manager
  • May 15 – Project Manager contracted, and brought onto team.
  • June 15 – Southside Stories, featuring Word on the Street + Delta House Life Development youth took place at Edington Center.
  • June 17 – Leadership Team met, moving work forward. 
  • June 26 – Project updates shared, THE BLOCK monthly meeting
  • July 9 – Aug 30 – Call for Local Artists. 
  • July 15 – Leadership Team met, moving work forward. 
  • July 20 – Southside Rising for Culture hosted by Southside Rising and Word on the Street at Edington Center.
  • July 31 – Project updates shared, THE BLOCK monthly meeting
  • July 25-26 – Community Art Workshops, facilitated by Art Ecologie Collective, and hosted by adé PROJECT at YMI Cultural Center.
  • Aug 19 – Leadership Team met, moving work forward. 
  • Aug 26 – ENCORE Community Art Workshop, and artist statement workshop, facilitated by Mrs. Shirley Whitesides, and hosted by adé PROJECT at Delta House Life Development. 
  • Aug 28 – Project updates shared, THE BLOCK monthly meeting
  • Sep 4 – Local artists selected, and welcomed into project.
  • Sep 20-22 – Goombay Festival, “Bringing it Back 2 THE BLOCK”
  • Sep 16 – Leadership Team meeting
  • Sep 25  – THE BLOCK meeting
  • Oct 17-19 – African-Americans in Western NC & Southern Appalachia Conference 
  • Oct 21 –  Leadership Team meeting 
  • Oct 30  – THE BLOCK Meeting 
  • Oct 31 – Installation of work projected by this date
  • Nov 18 – (Final) Leadership Team meeting 

2018

  • Mon, Sept 17 – Final Artist Proposals were submitted.
  • Thurs, Sept 20 – Public feedback survey added to Open City Hall (open until Thursday October 4th). Paper surveys made available at the following community centers: Stephens Lee, Tempie Avery Montford Center, Senior Opportunity Center, Rev. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center, the Harvest House, Burton Street Center and Shiloh Center.
  • Thurs, Sept 20 – Public Feedback Party (AAAC Refinery)
  • Tues, Oct 9 – VAP Leadership Team ranked proposals and created recommendations.
  • Thurs, Oct 11 – Selected final proposal presented at PACC meeting for final approval (City Hall, 1st floor conference room from 4-5 pm)
  • Fri, Oct 12 – Announcement of the selected artist(s)/proposal
  • Oct 18-20 – Finalist(s) presented at African Americans in WNC & South Appalachia Conference. VAP presented in Mountain View Room of UNCA Sherrill Center.
  • Oct 22-Dec 20– Community feedback and inquiries were received to help inform next steps in the project + process.

 

HISTORY

Celebrating African Americans Through Public Art is the recently re-branded Visiting Artist Project. Since inception, the project aims to focus on the goal to enhance under-served communities address needs in the city’s public art collection by setting into motion a mission to create public art that emphasizes public inputThe City of Asheville in conjunction with the Public Art and Cultural Commission (PACC) in Asheville, North Carolina launched  the Visiting Artist Project (VAP), which began in 2018. The VAP aimed to enhance under-served communities, address needs in the City’s public art collection, and enable collaborative, mentoring relations between a nationally and internationally recognized artist (or artist team) and a selected group of local artists. For its inaugural 2018 project, the intended focus was on the history, contribution, and experience of the African American community of Asheville. In 2018, the City of Asheville’s Public Art and Cultural Commission announced the creation of the  Visiting Artist Program. The 2018 partnership is funded by the City’s Percent for Public Art Policy, sponsored by the Public Art and Cultural Commission, and after the selection of  Art Ecologie the project is now being guided by a local leadership team of artists, arts and culture educators, activists, and event promoters.  

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW + GOALS

Part of the uniqueness of this project is that it aims to be as open-ended as possible: with respect to medium, design, and location. In keeping with this, we wanted to invite submissions from as wide a range of artists as possible, which included, but was not limited to, local artists. For a project of this size and significance, we were looking for artists with demonstrated experience with major public art projects as well as community engagement experience through the arts. Having received nearly 60 submissions from local, national, and international artists, we left the selection process to a Leadership Team made up of key voices in the artistic and African-American community of Asheville, and members of PACC. In addition to artistic quality, experience, and artistic community engagement, the Leadership Team was also looking for artists and projects that would engage local artists as partners in the execution of the project by earning a stipend ($1000) as well as valuable experience working on a major public art project. 

The goals of this project are: (1) to broaden PACCs engagement with the African American community, and diversify the City’s public art collection, and (2) to support over a dozen current efforts by our local African American community meant to honor and celebrate the past, present and future of African American arts, culture and life in Asheville.

FUNDING

This project is largely funded by the City’s percent for Public Art Policy – that is about $50,000 that has been dedicated to paying the visiting artist for all the design, community engagement, fabrication, and installation needed to make the project a success.

LEADERSHIP TEAM 

The 2018 partnership is funded by the City’s Percent for Public Art Policy, sponsored by the Public Art and Cultural Commission, and being guided by a leadership team of artists, arts and culture educators, activists, and promoters including those listed below, as well as a growing list of community members.  We welcome the opportunity to connect with others that have similar projects underway, and we are interested in talking to potential sponsors who can help increase the quality of the community’s involvement in this project.


PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Cortina Jenelle Caldwell, Project Manager

Founder + Creative Director, Artists Designing Evolution (adé PROJECT).
For questions or inquiries about the project, reach out – connect@theadeproject.org 

 

Stephanie Monson Dahl, Project Liaison

City of Asheville Strategic Development Director

For sponsorship, reach out – smonson@ashevillenc.gov

 

COMMUNITY  LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE

Darin Waters

Brent Skidmore 

Viola Spells 

Katie Cornell

Shirley Whitesides

Michael Carter

Sheneika Smith

Valeria Watson

Sekou Coleman

Nex Millen

 

PRESS + MEDIA 

Mountain Xpress 

City of Asheville selects Art Ecologie as inaugural visiting artist 

 

AVL Today 

Meet the Visiting Artists Project:  3 visions for Asheville’s Africa – American community 

 

Other Media

Listen to BPR’s Waters and Harvey show piece on the project

Read more about what’s happened  on the City’s Blog

Read more on the Visiting Artist Program from the Mountain Xpress.


 

For more information contact:

Steph Monson Dahl
City of Asheville Strategic Development Director
smonson@ashevillenc.gov 
828-337-4111