Erie Approves New Public Art Installation – Boulder Daily Camera

The Erie Board of Trustees welcomed a new live art installation as part of a public art program.

The board voted 5-0 to approve the installation by Dixie Friend Gay. Mayor Pro-tem Sara Loflin and Trustee Ari Harrison were not present.

Parks and Recreation Director Patrick Hammer said in March 2022, council and town staff began planning a public art program and the installation of an iconic piece of art in town. Amanda Golden, a managing principal of Designing Local, said Friend was selected from more than 100 submissions. Golden said town staff and community volunteers for the program felt Friend’s art most closely aligned with the vision and values ​​outlined for the installation.

Golden said that the installation needed to capture the essence of Erie, which includes local nature, the Front Range mountain view, a slow and steady lifestyle and an open heart; and includes Erie history. Golden also said that the art should be welcoming to all community members, be a natural extension of local nature, be vibrant and create opportunities for residents to connect.

The art installation consists of three abstract totem-like statues, made of organic forms and including natural elements.

“These items in the poles are symbols,” Golden said. “One thing that Dixie is interested in is going out into the community and incorporating symbols that are important to the community.”

The installation will be placed between the Erie Community Library and the Erie Community Center. The project is expected to cost $316,000. The arts program has $325,000 in its budget.

Downtown project

The council also looked at new paving, curbs and plantings along the town center as part of a project to beautify the town centre. Economic Development Manager Lucas Workman presented the downtown infrastructure project update Tuesday. He said the project will support the growth and vibrancy of downtown Erie.

Workman said the alleys immediately east and west of Briggs Street, from Cheesman Street to Moffat Street, will have streetscape and alley improvements. The intersection of Briggs Street and Cheesman Street will have curb extension improvements.

Some of the streetscape improvements include special finish concrete, upgrades to lights and pedestrian lights at intersections. Matt Wessel, of RockSol Consulting Group, which will complete the project, said that the results of community engagement from July 2021 show that tree planting is a priority for residents. The project will include trees and other plant spaces along Briggs Street.

Trustee Brandon Bell confirmed with Wessel that there will be traffic calming features along Briggs Street for both pedestrians and increased traffic near the post office on Wells Street. Mayor Justin Brooks said while the project update is only a discussion, he wants to make sure town staff communicates with downtown businesses since the construction will significantly affect them. Project construction is expected to begin in the winter.

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A ‘Mountain Mammoth’ Named Mashaal: Public art structure begins to take shape at Detroit Mountain – Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – Visitors to Detroit Mountain Recreation Area this past weekend may have noticed construction happening near the children’s playground and Bunny Hill.

No, the 8x20x12-foot wooden structure isn’t a new platform for doing aerial acrobatics in the snow: Eventually, the structure will take the shape of a woolly mammoth, with a “fur” coat made up of sticks made from the forest has been collected. near.

This permanent piece of public art is designed to be interactive, according to Zach Schumack of the Leonic Collective, a group of artists from around the country responsible for creating the structure. Schumack and fellow Leonian artist Ian Molloy-Busse are also the duo that created the “Cave People” structures that were placed in the Detroit Lakes City Park late last month.

“We’ll put a ladder inside that bone,” Schumack said, pointing to one of the mammoth’s bones. “Kids can climb the ladder and be inside the belly of the beast, which will have a small playroom.”

Both Schumack and Molloy-Busse worked on the “Mountain Mammoth” on Friday, along with Leonian artists from Arkansas, Texas, British Columbia and North Carolina — and one local addition: Detroit Lakes Ice Palace creator Hans Gilsdorf, who was recruited to help with the project.

“I’m holding up the a– of a mammoth!” Gilsdorf joked as he and Molloy-Busse worked to anchor a piece of the structure in place.

Gilsdorf said he enjoys the process and the opportunity to interact with his fellow artist collaborators. “It was an absolute joy,” he said. “I’m learning a lot. These are very gracious, hardworking guys. Very creative and fun to be around.”

Artists Ian Molloy-Busse and Hans Gilsdorf work to anchor a piece of wood in place for the woolly giant public art piece being permanently installed at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area this month.

Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

While he would definitely classify himself as an artist now, Schumack said he actually got his start in construction. “I hated art classes as a kid,” he admitted. “I’m a 3D artist, not a 2D artist.”

But it was through owning his own construction company that he was exposed to building large-scale art projects, and he was hooked.

“It’s construction to me, but in a cooler way,” he said.

He got his start as an artist while working at the Somerset (Wis.) Music Festival, where he met another artist who would have a major influence on his work: Tigre Mashaal-Lively, who sadly passed away in October .

“I dedicate this sculpture to Tigre,” Schumack said, adding that the mammoth will be named Mashaal in their honor.

Schumack said that Mashaal-Lively made some amazing sculptures, using nothing more than a pile of sticks. In that vein, the “fur” coat of Mashaal the Mammoth will be made from sticks collected from the woods at Detroit Mountain. He and the giant sponsor Project 412 put out a call this past weekend asking for help to gather the sticks.

Amy Stoller Stearns, the executive director of Project 412, said her organization first learned of Schumack’s “Cave People” sculptures in need of a new home through a mutual friend of hers and Schumack’s, Brook Herzog. After meeting Schumack and getting to know him, she learned that building a full-scale woolly mammoth was one of his dream projects, and the rest is history.

“I think it’s exciting and fun,” she said of the sculpture. “This is a great new addition to Detroit Mountain.”

The entire project is expected to take about two weeks to complete. Visit the Project 412 Facebook page for updates.

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Museum Asks Public to Reinvent a Classic Painting, With Incredible Results

Girl with a pearl earring? More like Guy With an Apple AirPod.

The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague has put out a call for recreations of Johannes Vermeer’s iconic 17th-century painting — with bizarre and delightful results.

No earring in this photo by Jessica van der Mast. Just an AirPod.


Woman wearing a turban and two pearl earrings while holding a camera

Architect Zoé Molnár is a girl with a pearl earring — and a camera.


Scroll through posts tagged #mygirlwithapearl on Instagram and you’ll find more than 4,700 interpretations of the famous oil painting of a young girl in a headscarf, a large earring dangling from her left ear. The tributes range from beautiful to creepy to surreal, from classic to abstract to steampunk. You will see the girl in photographs, digital drawings and oil paintings, and recreated in sculptures made from embroidery thread, toys, school supplies and multicolored beads and buttons.

A Na'vi from Avatar as the girl with a pearl earring

Multimedia artist Double O Roos: “I make her cry for the world for the people and for the Earth.”


Girl With a Pearl Earring with a robot instead of a girl

Robot With a Pearl Earring, an oil on canvas by artist Julian DePuma.


She appears as a baby, an older bearded man, a duck, a dog, a bunny, and a blue Na’vi from Avatar. In more than one image, she is decidedly 21st century, with a face mask or earplugs or with a mobile phone. One artist overlaid Vermeer’s painting on a Tinder screen and called the creation “Swipe Right.”

A girl wears a mask on top of her turban in this interpretation of Girl With a Pearl Earring

A number of the tributes have face masks, of course.


Girl with a pearl earring, wearing a face mask

Art gallery owner Gea Kok shows the famous Girl, ready for COVID.


Are some of the digital versions created with an AI art creation tool such as Dall-E or Midjourney? You can bet on it.

The Mauritshuis usually houses the famous painting, but for eight weeks from February the work will be on loan for a Vermeer exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Rather than leave the girl’s wall empty, the Mauritshuis plans to rotate some of the crowd-sourced renditions through a digital display.

“The room where the Girl hangs will temporarily become a place of inspiration with as many Girls as possible gathered, from home and abroad,” says the museum.

Pencils and other school supplies made in the shape of Girl With a Pearl Earring

“My mandate for myself was to create it with what I could only find in my living room,” says Elisabeth Koch.


Girl With a Pearl Earring, recreated with embroidery floss

Submissions came in all sorts of colorful materials.


As the submissions attest, the museum has placed no limits on creativity here. “A self-portrait with a bath towel as a turban, a painted iron or even a pile of crockery,” it says. “Few are too crazy for us.” Registration for the competition closed on 15 January.

Vermeer, one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17th century, is known for his intimate domestic scenes and beautiful use of light.

His iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring has made a number of literary and film appearances, including in a 1999 historical novel of the same name that told a fictional story of the painting’s creation. That book led to a 2003 film adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson as a young servant in the house of Vermeer, played by Colin Firth.

If you want to explore the original painting in more detail to better appreciate the reimaginings, an augmented reality feature called Pocket Gallery in Google’s free Google Arts & Culture app offers a virtual exhibition space where you can view all 36 of Vermeer’s paintings. see and learn about . None of them have robots.

Girl With a Pearl Earring as a self-portrait by a bearded man

Visual artist Wil Peerboom, like many others, opted for a self-portrait.


Dog dressed in the style of Girl With a Pearl Earring

“Pooch With a Pearl Earring” has a nice ring to it.


An earring in the shape of the painting Girl With a Pearl Earring

A meta-assumption of Girl With a Pearl Earring: the painting as an actual earring.


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Ivan Argote anchors a visual conversation on the public spaces

At first glance, it seems out of place to find the fragments of urban architecture populated by flora and fauna within the premises of an art gallery. The outward response opened the ground of contemplation in the solo exhibition Forebodings, by the artist Ivan Argote at Galerie Perrotin in Paris. The fresh body of paintings and sculpture, bearing the pieces of the built environment, indicated Argote’s acute attention to the environment around him. The ‘radical twist’ in the hands of Argote to the perceived idea of ​​architecture earned him a nomination for the 22second edition of the Marcel Duchamp Prize. As part of his nomination, the installation artist presents Air de jeu at the Center Pompidou in collaboration with Forebodings. Olivia Anani writes in the press release, “In a game of self-reference where even accidents can seem premeditated, these two exhibitions and the places, films, paintings, sculptures and installations they present feed back to each other, one that exemplifies the contours of the other in an endless spiral.”

Closer view of Case2022, Oil on canvas Image: Claire Dorn; ©Argote, ADAGP, Paris 2022. Courtesy of Iván Argote and Perrotin

Called a ‘sensitive artist’, Argote, the Colombian artist and film director based in Paris, plays with surrealism and illusion to criticize the invincible power of the empires and monuments. The heroism that underlines the national narrative and buildings was the relentless subject of his artistic practice. In an interview with STIR, Argote talks about the relationship with public space, the city and its symbols, “Our cities are characterized by a will to control; we want to control the masses, control the symbols, and also control nature. In that sense, in recent years I have worked more and more to include vegetation in my installations to talk about a loss of control over our human perspective, and also to imagine perspectives of a future where our symbols and architectures to be reappropriated by life.” In this way, the artist questions how we conceive of “otherness”.

Fallen, 2022, Oil on canvas, IvánArgote|Premonitions|  STIRworld
Case2022, Oil on canvas Image: Claire Dorn; ©Argote, ADAGP, Paris 2022. Courtesy of Iván Argote and Perrotin

The series of fragments of obelisks, empty pedestals and amputated monuments bathed in steel pastels: grey, yellow and even millennial pink. The dilapidated monuments turn into fountains: an indication of the crowded life. The branches sprout from the concrete to reinforce the nature that breathes against all odds. What caught the viewer’s attention was a subtle narrative about the unfinished. The joke of life finds a source to live from the moment of near collapse. The visual art installation carried a tension between the fragility of what lives on the surface of the earth and what lies beneath, they looked at the duality needed to balance life. In the exhibition, the installations are e.g. Patience, where vegetation appropriates a ruin of a statue. We also have a series of paintings with architectural landscapes, fallen obelisks and broken plinths where nature emerges from the center outwards through the rigid architectural forms with organic fluidity. After a hiatus, Argote returns to the medium of painting with the Case series where he expands the boundaries of the material concrete.

Fallen, 2022, Oil on canvas, IvánArgote|Premonitions|  STIRworld
Case2022, Oil on canvas Image: Claire Dorn; ©Argote, ADAGP, Paris 2022. Courtesy of Iván Argote and Perrotin

Argote refrains from a didactic approach, but like an “experienced director of our psychological spaces” he retreats to satirical humor to talk about the mobility and immutability of sculptures and monuments in public space. In the video Post Human, produced in a studio decorated with sets painted by the artist, viewers walk through the origins of the obelisk as an architectural form. It presented a world where pigeons try to remember what a human was. Like the pigeons, which occupy famous places, the tourists flock the places of historical interest. The miniature-sized souvenirs encapsulate the history of the monuments, to expand the meaning of both “reverence and popularization”.

Fallen, 2022, Oil on canvas |Premonitions|  STIRworld
Case2022, Oil on canvas Image: Claire Dorn; ©Argote, ADAGP, Paris 2022 Courtesy of Iván Argote and Perrotin

The film Post Human a world before us where pigeons try to remember what a human was. Argote conceived it as a distant fiction, millions of years in the future, where our great constructions are now a soft and tender landscape of silent memories, and our people, the vague and funny memory in the memory of a pigeon. “Taking this slightly dystopian, but also the calm and humorous distance, is a strategy that may free us from contemporary burdens that prevent us from thinking about these issues related to monuments, and above all that allow us to to think less vainly of ourselves, knowing that we are short-lived and fragile,” explains the artist.

IvánArgote, Views of IvánArgote's exhibition Prémonitions' at Perrotin Paris, 2022 |  STIRworld
Views of Iván Argote’s exhibition Forebodings at Perrotin, Paris, 2022 Image: Claire Dorn; ©Argote, ADAGP, Paris 2022. Courtesy of Iván Argote and Perrotin

The intervention in the public space made by Argote activates the relationship between history, artefacts and citizens – otherwise considered a dormant site. For example, the simulation of the removal of a statue in honor of Marshal Joseph Gallieni in Paris, the relocation of a sculpture dedicated to Christopher Columbus in Madrid and a Levitation of the Flaminio obelisk in the Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The performative installations evoke a fictional narrative as well as a lived reality. “Like children who cannot symbolically cut the umbilical cord, we want to continue to believe in our heroes, in their discoveries and their virtuous victories, which are as factual as Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales,” reads the press release.

Iván Argote's portrait |Premonitions|  STIRworld
Iván Argote Image: Claire Dorn; Courtesy of Perrotin

Not sci-fi in its true definition, yet Argote likes the feeling of entering a parallel space, a future projection and a journey to another time. At the same time, the idea is to generate questions about our political and ideological confrontations, using fiction and a degree of absurdity to evoke an empathy that can overcome our differences. The visual artist underlines towards the end of the interview that the takeaway after viewing his works is “to become aware of our fragility, to understand that our empires, nations and cities are a small moment and that we must concentrate on taking care of ourselves now. in the present.”

Ivan Argote, Forebodingsat Perrotin, Paris Video: Courtesy of Perrotin

The exhibition ‘Premonitions’ by Ivan Argote was on view at Galerie Perrotin, Paris until 17 December 2022.

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Public art flourishes throughout the region in 2022

As recently as a few years ago, an empty space or cinder block facade in a capital region was just that. But the conversion of these concrete walls and underpasses into works of art accelerated, quickly transforming urban landscapes into public galleries filled with vivid murals, sculptures and light displays.

While the pace has been uneven between local cities, the momentum behind public art is gaining ground.

“There are hundreds of artists, and there are hundreds of wall spaces,” says Tony Iadicicco, executive director of Albany Center Gallery. “So the idea is, how do we try to keep finding great resources and opportunities to tie it all together?”

This year, Albany got two new murals through Capital Walls, started by the Parking Authority, Albany Barn and Albany Center Gallery in 2016. The Art Center of the Capital Region sponsored a new mural next to School 2 and two temporary works, #HopeSpringsEternalTroy and Troy Glow in the city center. Schenectady got colorful upgrades with “Imagine,” a Capital Walls mural by Dha’Sean Serrano and Oscar Bogran, a mural by Elona Hope Mitchell-Strong along Jay Street and two additional murals by Bogran at Keane Elementary and Pizza King, the latter painted in collaboration with local youth during the Kids Arts Festival in June.

The presence of public art is not new, but the region, specifically Albany and Troy, has reached a critical mass of public art that has opened the door for more projects and greater support, said Judie Gilmore, director of special projects and partnerships. at the Arts Center and the curator of Troy Glow.

“It seems to be this tipping point where there is no public art and it seems impossible,” she said. “But once people start seeing it, they expect it and it can happen, and there’s more of a demand for it.”

The renewed focus on creative outlets and outdoor exhibitions during 2020 may have played a role in the proliferation of public art, Gilmore said. Arts organizations had to look outside their gallery walls to safely exhibit art, and they leaned on public demand for more.

Art also became an important coping mechanism and mode of expression during the early stages of the pandemic and the nation’s racial reckoning, Iadicicco said.

“Creative things helped (people) get through days when there were a lot of tragic things happening all over the country,” he said. “(Art) has helped activists and creative people give a visual expression and humanize things that are happening.”

Cities across the region are allocating more funds received through the U.S. Rescue Plan and other grants to public art, helping to address the financial obstacles many artists and arts organizations face.

“Small cities have really started to look at what bigger cities are doing for things like economic development and placemaking,” Gilmore said. “There’s been great success in the last 40 years of public art as this wonderful tool for revitalization.”

Saratoga Arts, which oversees the state funds reallocation process for Saratoga, Fulton and Montgomery counties, has seen a surge in applications for community-based arts projects, said executive director Louise Kerr. The organization has already received more than $200,000 in applications (applicants can only ask for a maximum of $5,000 for nonprofit-led projects and $2,500 for individual artists). Saratoga Arts only has $150,000, Kerr said, and hopes to get more money next grant cycle to meet the growing need.

“It shows me not only that communities are embracing more arts and culture because they’ve missed it so much, but it also shows that people realize there are resources for them to be creative, and that they will be compensated,” she said. said.

However, funding has been an obstacle in Schenectady. Challenges exist for those behind public art projects to apply for funding without the infrastructure to support the artists, said Heather Hutchison, executive director and founder of CREATE Community Studio. The studio hopes to fulfill the same roles that the more established Albany Center Gallery and Arts Center have served in Albany and Troy, respectively.

“We’re at this tipping point of trying to find bigger pools of funding,” Hutchison said. “Community art grants are $5,000. It doesn’t go very far when you’re talking about a mural or a sculpture or a larger piece of public art.”

Hutchison does feel like the buzz for these public art projects is growing in the Electric City, thanks to the murals and installations already in place, including Schenectady and Me, a series of neighborhood benches smothered in community-made ceramic tiles.

“The community wants it, there’s no doubt about it,” she said. “It’s just a matter of finding your money.”

However, Bogran feels that change is happening. He says Troy is at the forefront of public art, and Schenectady will soon follow.

“Now the powers that be are getting comfortable with advocating for funding for (public art) and promoting local artists,” he said.

The context and community connection of the work also contributed to the rising momentum. Jade Warrick, also known as TrashKiD Art, focuses on community engagement in her new role as the Art Center’s curator of public art and placemaking. Creating an accessible and equitable public art scene is difficult, she said, and it relies on listening to the community.

“This is public art,” Warrick said. “You need the public’s eye in that.”

The cities focus on supporting a diverse list of artists with a range of styles lends itself to making public art accessible and relatable to its communities, as well as the nature of its public location.

When Bogran, born in Honduras, moved to Brooklyn as a child in the mid-80s, graffiti art captured his fascination. As he continued his artistic journey, the thought of taking art out of the confines of elite, historically white galleries excited him.

“I liked the fact that it was against the grain,” Bogran said. “It brings art into the public sphere, and it makes it accessible to everyone.”

Investment in public art also affects the artist communities. Warrick noted more artists in Troy are starting their own small businesses and non-profit organizations because of the city’s commitment to the arts.

“Having the public art in our communities supported and really highlighted gives people the confidence to really trust in their own abilities and thrive in it,” said Warrick.

Continuing this public art momentum will require the support of young and emerging artists, according to Warrick; encouraging private sectors to fund projects and cities to collaborate and share resources, according to Gilmore; and government officials and local leaders to continue to advocate for these projects, which help artists feed their families, according to Bogran. But if the region can maintain this momentum and encourage artists to take root here, they will create impacts that can outlive their murals, Iadicicco said.

“There’s a lot of blank canvas in this region, and a lot of ripe opportunities,” he said. “(Art) can really change people’s lives, whether it’s people who create it or people who experience it. Art has that power.”

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Somerset County Recovery Walk raises $800 for public mural project
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East End District Receives Gift of New Chicano Public Art in Honor of Victims of COVID-19

Ceremonial Metate in the East End District, Houston, Texas

The sculpture, created by Chicano artists Jesus Cantu Medel, M.Ed., with the help of Joseph Cavazos, is intended to honor the art community members who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston.

The East End District has added a ceremonial-type, mega-sized metate to the award-winning Esplanade by Navigation. The sculpture, created by Chicano artists Jesus Cantu Medel, M.Ed., with the help of Joseph Cavazos, is intended to honor the art community members who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston.

A metate is a rectangular stone with a tripod bone base of basalt stone, typically used to grind corn kernels to make tortillas; according to prof. Medel reflects the ceremonial metate he created Pre-Columbian values ​​and traditions of ancient Mexico and Central America to emphasize respect for individuals and artists.

The metat cost $18,000 and took three months to build. The Houston Arts Alliance awarded the funds with the support of the “Museo Guadalupe Aztlan.” The public is invited to attend vigils and public events at the site.

East End Houston community members are invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, December 18, 2022.

About the Artist

Jesus Cantu Medel is an award-winning artist born and raised on the north side of Houston. He is a second generation Latin American with roots in Guanajuato and Tamaulipas, Mexico. Jesus is also a product of the University of Houston – Central Campus, where he majored in Psychology and earned a Masters in Education. His thesis focused on art education for the neo-needy in the Chicano community. Jesus also followed studies in the Colegio de Mexico sponsored by the “Becas Para Aztlan”.

About the East End District

The East End District was established in 1999. Its mission is to revitalize the infrastructure and image of the District, attract more businesses and increase economic activity in the area. Improvements include new infrastructure, beautification, security and public safety, and workforce development. The East End District covers 16 square miles and is bordered by Clinton Drive to the north, Loop 610 to the east, Telephone Road, and Interstate 45 to the south, and the Houston Belt and Terminal Railroad to Highway59 to the west. Visit http://www.eastenddistrict.com to learn more about the East End District.

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Connecting fans to the artists with NFTs – Public Pressure – SlateCast #41
Haru Bele

NFT Marketplace Public Pressure’s founder and CEO Sergio Mottola sat down with CryptoSlate’s Akiba to talk about the today and tomorrow of music NFTs.

What do NFTs offer?

Akiba asked Mottola to talk more about what NFTs offer the music industry and the artists.

Public Pressure wants to increase the NFT technology to migrate the music industry to Web3. The main objective here is to provide full transparency and fair revenue sharing.

“If we’re talking about complete transparency, this deal is going to work. Everyone in the crypto space will say this is the perfect way to use NFTs.

“The real game changer is the relationship with the fan base,” Mottola replied, adding that NFTs create a tool that allows artists to own their fan community.

“Currently they are [the artists] don’t own the community because every tool they use to communicate with their fans, like Instagram and Facebook, is centralized.”

Mottola added that Public Pressure’s primary goal is to innovate to strengthen the relationship between the fan base and the artists.

Public pressure

Mottola defines Public Pressure as a “web3 media company that sits atop an NFT marketplace dedicated to the music industry.”

Public printing includes two marketplaces, primary and secondary. The primary market is “a place where you can drop your NFT collection,” Mottola says, adding, “then we also have a secondary market for secondary exchanges.”

According to Mottola, the Public Pressure marketplace is also designed to guarantee that the artists receive a certain percentage of the sum every time the NFT changes hands.

Future of NFT music

Public Pressure aims to become the number one music media company operating on the Polkadot (DOT) ecosystem in the long term. For short-term goals, Mottola said, the company is looking at IP and rights, as there is “a lot of work there that needs to be done.”

Mottola said his thoughts on whether the NFT technology will replace record labels is “not takeover, but more like a merger.” He noted that creating an iTunes for Web3 would not work.

Mottola said:

“We designed the platform so that the labels can co-exist with the artist as an actor. There was a lot of creative work done by the labels. If you’re good at producing, marketing and distribution, I don’t think you can be destroyed by a piece of technology that allows artists to run their own label.”

“Killing businesses doesn’t provide growth,” Mottola said as he finished his words, “it’s about growing the relationship with the artist and the fan base.”

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A new $4.5 million public art initiative aims to create ‘more inclusive and equitable’ monuments.  The first choice comes to the National Mall

There is always a hint of unintended irony in the name of the National Mall. America’s great green space in the middle of Washington, DC, is not really a place where America’s favorite pastime – shopping – takes place. Rather, it is a space for monument and protest.

In this vein, today at 10:00 during a live broadcast event, details will be revealed for the new public art initiative “Beyond Granite,” a series of artist prototypes for installations to be unveiled throughout 2023, centered on the National Mall. The series aims to serve as an experiment in how public art can transform the National Mall into “a more inclusive, just and representative process for commemoration,” according to organizers.

Titled “Pulling Together,” the first show, curated by Monument Lab’s Paul Farber and Salamishah Tillet, features artists including Vanessa German, Derrick Adams, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Tiffany Chung, Wendy RedStar and Ashon Crawley. The selected cohort are all “contemporary artists who think about American history, engage in public art projects at scale, and represent the diversity and breadth of our country since its inception,” Tillet said.

An artist visit to the National Mall with Salamishah Tillet, co-curator of “Pulling Together,” Paul Ramirez Jonas, Vanessa German, Ashon Crawley, and Paul Farber, co-curator and director of Monument Lab. Photo: Courtesy of AJ Mitchell, 2022.

The final works will not be revealed until next fall, and the details of each individual project are also being kept under wraps, but according to the curators, the show takes its overall inspiration from a moving 1939 performance by Black opera singer Marian Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the Mall’s west end, after she was barred from singing in Constitution Hall. This, in turn, prompted Civil Rights activist Mary Mcleod Bethune to write that the public concert “told a story of hope for tomorrow—a story of triumph—a story of rallying, a story of splendor and truth democracy.”

Perhaps for obvious reasons, the Lincoln Memorial steps have become a symbolic space in American history, hosting other memorable events, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt project. “We wanted to draw on those histories.” Tilled said. “What are the ways in which people could gather on the Mall in a form of dissent and democracy?”

Artists Derrick Adams and Tiffany Chung visit the DC War Memorial on the National Mall, Washington DC, before their participation in “Pulling Together.” Photo: Courtesy of AJ Mitchell, 2022.

Funded by a $4.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the Trust for the National Mall, the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Park Service, the project is “the result of federal and local agencies investing and are bound in how the past/present/future of our monuments coexist, and see art at its core,” Farber said. He added that “part of the mission is to have a coalition effort to make art as a suggest a way forward.”

“Doing a public art project of this scale and scope, with sensitivity, really encourages us to think about how we can be together again as a people,” Tillet said. “It often feels like there isn’t much to be optimistic about. I think when people come together and see themselves in monuments and understand other histories and people that they didn’t have before, with compassion and a sense of community, with this creative background, it’s really inspiring. At least for me. I hope it inspires us all to see each other as a citizenry through these gatherings.”

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New public art installation to honor Muskegon Heights marching band’s legacy

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – The Muskegon community’s next piece of art is set to honor the legacy of Muskegon Heights High School’s marching band.

The MuskegonCity Public Art Initiative announced last week it is in the planning and development stages for its seventh public art project, this one destined for Muskegon Heights.

The new project, “Band Together,” will be a 12-foot-tall, bronze sculpture of a Muskegon Heights Public Schools Marching Band drum major, designed by Floyd Cook Jr., the first African-American drum major for Muskegon Heights in 1958.

The sculpture stands tall on a 36-inch pedestal and will be a tribute to the Muskegon Heights High School Marching Band, which honed its style of marching from historically Black colleges over the decades.

It will be installed in October 2023 as part of the Rowan Park renovation on West Broadway Avenue, organizers said in a news release.

Muskegon Heights City Manager Troy Bell said the sculpture acts as the foundation while the city builds the new Rowan Park-Strand facility.

“No town can embrace a renaissance like we’re planning for Muskegon Heights without having public art at its core,” he said. “As part of the Rowan Park Strand Facility Development, ‘Band Together’ is a great example of great public art that can bring our community together to celebrate the rich and beloved history of Muskegon Heights High School.”

The statue will be created by Muskegon-native bronze sculptor Ari Norris, who also created “Muskegon’s Own Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” near the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum and a Doris Rucks tribute sculpture at Muskegon Community College.

Signs depicting the Muskegon Heights Marching Band story from 1926 along with major donors to the project will also be installed at Rowan Park in 2023.

The budget for the project is $195,000, which includes the original bronze sculpture, plinths, foundations, lighting, donor recognition signs, installation equipment and labor.

The MuskegonCity Project Art Initiative raised $129,100 of the total goal last week, with $65,900 remaining.

Bell said the sculpture and park facility will be a new point of pride in the greater Muskegon community, featuring art, green space, a festival boardwalk, retail, residential and business space, and a makerspace.

The redevelopment of the park and the block that includes the historic Beach Building will also include a splash pad, as well as a picnic, play and community event space.

“Our city has done great things, but without the vision and a plan, there was no focus,” he said. “Now we have defined an emphasis that focuses on creating downtown Muskegon Heights as a family destination.”

Established in 2018 to develop and oversee the commission of 10 public artworks, MCPAI is a project of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

Donations to support the “Band Together” Sculpture Fund can be mailed or dropped off at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, 425 W. Western Ave.

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