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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Exhibition honors 10th anniversary of the Office of Arts & Culture's Emerging Public Artist program

9/18/2013  10:00:00 AM

Exhibition honors 10th anniversary of the Office of Arts & Culture's Emerging Public Artist program
'Becoming a Public Artist' will be on view Oct. 2 through Dec. 27 at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery; reception Oct. 2

SEATTLE — This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Seattle's Public Art Program, and 10 years since the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture held an innovative program to encourage, teach and guide predominantly studio-based emerging artists into the field of public art. In 2003, 26 emerging artists were selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants for the Emerging Public Artist program. Artists selected for this program received training and were then placed on a roster to become eligible for community-based public art commissions. The exhibition Becoming a Public Artist showcases how the program affected many of these artists' careers. The show is on view Oct. 2 through Dec. 27 at Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery. A public reception will be held 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2.

Twenty-four artists are featured in the exhibition: Shea Bajaj, Jenny Davidson, Jennifer Dixon, Sue Gundy, Perri (Lynch) Howard, Richard Hutter, Mary Iverson, Max Keene, Susie Kozawa, Ela Lamblin, Cheryl Lawrence, Laurie LeClair, Rachel Maxi, Nikki McClure, Squeak (Nic) Meisel, Scott J. Morgan, Yuki Nakamura, Sheri Newbold, Shawn Nordfors, A.J. (Aaron) Power, Julia Ricketts, Ashley Thorner, Kristin Tollefson and Stewart Wong. The exhibition features hand-drawn or computer-generated conceptual proposals of some of the artists' first public artworks, maquettes (models) of temporary and permanent artworks, and 10 original artworks. Also exhibited are artworks that show artists' interpretations of public art.

Established public artists taught the Emerging Public Artist program. Topics covered proposals, panels and interviews, contracts and other legalities, budgets, schedules, collaborations with architects, communities and stakeholders, and an overview of design and fabrication issues. The emerging artists met experienced public artists at their project sites to hear about their experiences creating art. The group continued to meet over the next two years for professional development, peer support and an exhibition.

Some artists in the program transitioned into the realm of public art and completed many commissions, while others became teachers or continued their careers as studio artists. All artists in the Emerging Public Artist program agreed that the knowledge and confidence gained through the program enhanced their careers in some way. From the 26 original artists, 15 created one or more temporary or permanent public artworks for the Office of Arts & Culture, two created public artworks for other agencies, and several were finalists who developed proposals for commissions. Ten of these artists have created multiple temporary and permanent artworks around the region.

The Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 700 5th Ave., is located on the third-floor concourse and is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call (206) 684-7171 or visit

Office of Arts & Culture | Making art work.
We envision a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. We are supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council.

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