From 2010 – 2013, the New Albany Public Art Project: Bicentennial Series presented temporary, community-specific public art installations in downtown New Albany, Indiana. For a city of 36,000 that had not experienced much public art in the past, the project’s fifteen diverse art installations encouraged dialogue about contemporary art and gave residents and community leaders alike an expanded concept of what art can be and its importance in a community.
The artworks included a wide range of media, such as recycled materials, metal and wood, and concepts. Several of the artists invited residents to collaborate by donating materials and even audio and video that were incorporated into the artworks and two artists used solar power to run lights and audio equipment. A sculpture created as a park on the sidewalk morphed from an herb and vegetable garden to a Fall display of chrysanthemums to a brilliant display of pink, red and white flowers, while another was made of dried, native plants. There were two large-scale video projections and one audio installation that passersby could listen on their radios. The range of the art installations was impressive and we were fortunate to work with innovative, enthusiastic artists whose efforts truly ensured the success of our project. We asked the artists to create unique, personal interpretations of historic themes that explored the full 200 years of our city, from its founding in 1813 through cultural and social highlights, industrial innovations and natural disasters, to the ongoing revitalization of our downtown. The artists successfully gave our community, as one visitor put it, “a fun and unique way, via the artwork, to continue learning about New Albany’s history.”
An appreciation for the artworks in this series has also had the positive effect of encouraging other organizations to commission temporary and permanent public art installations in New Albany. The project artworks have had a significant positive impact on economic and community revitalization efforts in downtown New Albany as well and they have reached beyond our city. In our neighboring community of Louisville, Kentucky, our project has served as an example in the conversation regarding the evolution of the Louisville Public Art Master Plan and we have been happy to share information about the project with arts and economic development organizations in other cities.
The artists (and the themes of their work) of the New Albany Public Art Project: Bicentennial Series
2010 – The River
Brew History: All Bottled Up by Leticia Bajuyo (Historic Theme: Breweries & Taverns)
Flood by Valerie Sullivan Fuchs (Historic Theme: 1937 Flood)
Like String and Cans Through Walls by J. Daniel Graham (Historic Theme: Early Settlement)
Roots Grow Deep by John King (Historic Theme: Glass Industry)
Scars into Stars by Brad White (Historic Theme: Underground Railroad)
2011 – Industry & Agriculture
Resartus by Dominic Guarnaschelli (Historic Theme: Textiles, Wholesale to Retail)
Nature’s Calligraphy by Janis Martin, Ruth Andrews & Michael Slaski (Historic Theme: Farmer’s Markets)
Time Ghost tower-casts #1 and #2 by Scott Scarboro (Historic Theme: Newspapers & Broadcasting)
2012 – Home & Community Life
MicroPark by Nathan Smith (Historic Theme: Parks & Recreation)
Sweat Equity by Jacob Stanley (Historic Theme: Neighborhoods & Architecture)
Growth of Education by R. Michael Wimmer (Historic Theme: Education)
2013 – Art, Culture & Entertainment
The Stage that New Albany Built by Lee & Betty Benson (Historic Theme: Performing Arts & Entertainment)
New Albany Now by Tiffany Carbonneau (Historic Theme: Museums & History)
Sacks of Food by R. Michael Wimmer (Historic Theme: Culinary Arts)
Painting by Boris Zakic (Historic Theme: Visual Art & Artists)
For more information on the New Albany Public Art Project: Bicentennial Series, please view the catalogue by clicking on the link below.