In 2007 Creative Time was excited to take its mission national, working with artists around the country to expand on the pioneering spirit that has earned Creative Time the reputation as a vanguard and groundbreaking veteran public arts presenter. We have produced projects and events in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Chicago, Austin, Denver, Minneapolis, Las Angeles, and Oakland. That same year Creative Time launched Creative Time Consulting, advising and producing projects with partners nationally and internationally. Since 2007, the Consulting Program has developed projects and commissioning programs with United Technologies, JetBlue, the South Street Seaport, The Standard Hotel, Art Basel Miami Beach, The High Line, and in 2008 was selected by the City of Louisville to develop its first ever Public Art Master Plan.
When Creative Time was approached to work in Louisville, KY, we did so because it is a city like no other. With a rich arts community, amazing architecture, and the most extensive Frederick Law Olmsted designed park system in the country, Louisville's history and public sites are ripe for artist intervention. In 2008, Creative Time was awarded the contract to develop its first-ever public art master plan. Without a history of a Percent for Art program, or a designated department of cultural affairs, Louisville was in the unique position to define an entirely new approach to a city's involvement in the administration of public art. Under Mayor Jerry Abramson's leadership, the Mayor's Committee on Public Art took on the master planning process to address a number of goals. These goals included creating a framework for documenting and maintaining their existing public art collection, the outlining of new organizational structures for the creation of new public art in Louisville, the development of new City policies and funding solutions related to public art, and the establishment of action steps for art in public space for the City of Louisville to take on.
Through our work in city's like Louisville, we hope to extend on our fundamental belief that art has the power to create inspiring personal experiences as well as foster social progress. Art has the power to reach across age, race, language, and class, providing a new way for people to engage directly on contemporary issues. The history, political context, economic and social landscape, and visual arts communities of a city are all unique to that place and cannot categorized as a universal series of conditions. We do not view public art master planning as a prescribed formulaic model, but instead propose an anti-model that takes on a holistic approach that considers the strengths of a specific city and makes recommendations based on the needs of that place. Artists are global citizens, and art making today goes beyond the borders of a visual art world. Providing artists new platforms to engage in their community dialogue is key to a healthy cultural community and healthy city overall. In working with cities, we hope to have a lasting impact by changing the way governments engage with the arts. We do this by finding new ways to include artists' ideas in every layer of a city's political, social, and economic framework in a collaborative and meaningful way.
Creative Time's approach to Louisville's first Public Art Master Plan was to listen first and then recommend a flexible structure, based on the community's feedback, that would adapt to time and place. We started our work in Louisville with site tours, roundtable discussions, one-on-one meetings, studio visits, and historical research. We met with artists, curators and arts administrators, historians, educators, government and civic leaders, business people, architects, and many other stakeholders. We first needed to understand this place and its strengths and needs, before evaluating new ways for public art to thrive in the City of Louisville.
The end result of our year-long study in Louisville was a master plan document that balances both a larger vision of the arts and practical steps for both the City and the community to take on to achieve that vision. The plan lays out short and long-term approaches, and recommends strategies for the following needs:
To read the Louisville Public Art Master Plan, click here.
To read the City of Louisville's press announcement launching the Master Plan, click here.
The Louisville Public Art Master Plan was commissioned by Mayor Jerry Abramson to develop a new vision for art in public spaces that adds to the city's vitality. The plan was developed from August 2008 – June 2009 by Creative Time. The public Art Master Plan would not have been possible without the guidance and visionary support of the Mayor's Committee on Public Art led by chairs Chris Radtke and Anna Tatman, and by Mary Lou Northern, Senior Advisor for Parks, Cultural Affairs, and Faith Initiatives.
Special thanks are due to Bruce Traughber, Charles Cash, Althea Jackson, Chris Poynter, Gill and Augusta Holland, Henry Heuser, Jesse Bishop, and the many dedicated members of the Louisville community who participated in Master Plan roundtables and events.