On Thursday evening, March 28, at 7 pm in the Van Deusen Room of the Kalamazoo Public Library, the Kalamazoo County Public Arts Commission will collaborate with Reading Together by presenting a panel of its past and present members to discuss how it is that public art could engender controversy.
All the internal discussions an individual might have with her/himself about a work of art—I like it, I hate it, I get it, I don’t get it, my kindergartner could do it, it offends me, etc.—have the potential to be heightened when it’s a work of public art. Here in Kalamazoo, classes are taught and conversations – formal and informal, are held on this subject. Who knew?!
And questions arise:
- What is art?
- What makes art public?
- What’s the purpose of public art?
- Who is the public?
- What input does the public have?
Big questions. The panel (speaking from the members’ own perspectives rather than on behalf of the Public Arts Commission) won’t be providing definitive answers. But it will delve into the questions, and provide some insights into those factors which influence the individual and community perceptions of public art. The moderator will be Sarah Lindley, a practicing visual artist and Associate Professor of Art and Department Chair at Kalamazoo College. She discusses these issues in her classes at K College.
The panel is composed of:
- D. Neil Bremer, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. He is a nationally known consultant in museum management and has been a performer since his undergraduate days at Western Michigan University.
- Lisa Brock, Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. She’s a historian with a PhD in African History whose previous experience includes 20 years in two arts institutions in Chicago.
- Billie Fischer, an art historian and semi-retired Associate Professor at Kalamazoo College. She’s been a highly regarded member of many local arts activities, including her membership in the Public Arts Commission since its inception in the early 1980s until 2011.
I hope you’ll be able to join us.
~Martha Aills, Member, Reading Together Steering Committee
Member, Kalamazoo County Public Arts Commission
Public Art and Controversy