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University of Iowa: Art in Public

Art in Public
Deadline: March 1

The Grant Wood Art Colony of the University of Iowa seeks proposals for 18-minute presentations or panels that utilized a similar timeframe per participant that address the topic of Art in Public.

Public art assumes many forms in the popular imagination; large-scale sculptures dominating urban squares and plazas, mosaics adorning the walls and walkways of municipal transit hubs, murals of local heroes parading across City Hall walls. However, contemporary public art is now mired in cultural bureaucracy. As intermediaries and agencies increasingly assume responsibility for the commission and creation of art on the behalf of public (often municipal) entities, public art has become synonymous with economic redevelopment. In turn, economic development is often a proxy for exclusionary gentrification. Who is this art for? Exactly which public determines the course of art making? Is public art the same thing as art made via participatory processes?

All presentations examining issues of public art and engaged practice will be considered, but we especially welcome those focusing on the role art plays in community building, curricular integration of socially engaged art, and the responsibilities of the artist and the community. To generate some thinking, we offer the following list of possible topics for exploration, but we stress that presentations do not need to address these areas of inquiry:

engaged practice | the role of public art | the responsibilities of the public artist | the responsibilities of the community | community engagement through the arts | the way in which artists respond to contemporary issues | facilitating collective change through art | museum as a public device | the history of public art

We welcome proposals from emerging and established artists, curators, and scholars from a wide range of fields, including, but not limited to the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Art History, American Studies, Literature, History, Political Science, Agronomy, and others

Proposals should consist of a single PDF or Word file containing the following:

- presenter’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation (if relevant)
- title of presentation format of presentation (lecture, paper, panel, performance)
- brief biographical information of presenter(s) or one-page CV (Please do not send a full CV.)
- abstract of no more than 200 words
- proposal of less than 800 words
- brief bibliography or list of sources (as relevant)
- anticipated AV needs and any other logistical or technical requirements

If you are a student, please indicate if your presentation will be drawn from work in a course or internship, is part of a thesis, or is based on independent research. If submitting a full panel, please include the above information for all presenters on the panel.

Send proposals to:
Grant Wood Symposium 2018 Planning Committee

Announcement of accepted proposals will be made by email in April.  The full program schedule will be posted to the symposium website by early August.

Please direct questions to Maura Pilcher, Grant Wood Art Colony director.

This day-long symposium will recognize the interplay between publicly engaged artistic practice and current events, and will build on the legacy of Grant Wood. A proponent of public art, Grant Wood headed the Public Works of Art Program (P.W.A.P.), a part of the New Deal, in 1934. The University of Iowa Regionalist artist and native Iowan not only completed several murals that are still extant, but encouraged other artists to create public art through his pedagogy and professional position.

Fees: FREE